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Is S Sudan falling into oil resource curse?

By Malek Cook-Dwach

June 7, 2014 - The notion of resource curse has engulfed African countries, which are rich in natural resources and heavily depend on revenues from these resources. The resource curse is characterized by poverty-stricken, corruption and violent.

Relatively small group ( Elite ) captures vast wealth while leaving the entire society without basics need such as clean drinking water, electricity, shelter and consumption goods that define the absolute minimum resources necessary for long-term physical well-being.

Political instability triggered the oil resource curse; the evident suggests that countries with bad institutions are likely to experience the natural resource curse.

One of solution to get out from oil curse is to improve institutions, good governance, accountability and transparency.

South Sudan can voluntarily signed up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) promoted by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2002 that became an independent NGO in 2007. The main point of this is to get governments to publish adequate accounts of their receipts from natural resources and to create mechanisms by which society and voters can become informed about this. The following criteria must be satisfied and these include most centrally:
Regular publication of all material oil, gas and mining payments by companies to governments (“payments”) and all material revenues received by governments from oil, gas and mining companies (“revenues”) to a wide audience in a publicly accessible, comprehensive and comprehensible manner.

Where such audits do not already exist, payments and revenues are the subject of a credible, independent audit, applying international auditing standards.

Also significant is the provision that: Civil society is actively engaged as a participant in the design, monitoring and evaluation of this process and contributes towards public debate.

Finally, the Natural Resource Charter, launched in 2009 by academics and civil society, has developed 12 precepts that a country should follow if its natural resource wealth is to be used for the common good. This is aimed both at governments but also members of civil society to inform them of how the policy of their government might be deviating from what is socially desirable. African governments have themselves been getting into the action by endorsing the Africa Mining Vision along with the 2011 Action Plan and a great deal of pressure towards institutional change in the natural resource sector is coming from the Africa Progress Panel’s 2013 Report.

The author can be reached at malekcook75@gmail.com