© 2017

Africa’s Natural Resources and Underdevelopment

How Ghana’s Petroleum Can Create Sustainable Economic Prosperity


Table of contents

About this book


This book explores how African countries can convert their natural resources, particularly oil and gas, into sustainable development assets. Using Ghana, one of the continent’s newest oil-producing countries, as a lens, it examines the "resource curse" faced by other producers - such as Nigeria, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea - and demonstrates how mismanagement in those countries can provide valuable lessons for new oil producers in Africa and elsewhere. Relying on a broad range of fieldwork and policymaking experience, Panford suggests practical measures for resource-rich developing countries to transform natural resources into valuable assets that can help create jobs, boost human resources, and improve living and working conditions in Ghana in particular. He suggests fiscal, legal, and environmental antidotes to resource mismanagement, which he identifies as the major obstacle to socioeconomic development in countries that have historically relied on natural resources. >


paradox of plenty extractive industries foreign direct investment governance enclave effect

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Northeastern UniversityBostonUSA

About the authors

Kwamina Panford is Associate Professor at Northeastern University, USA, where he was Chair of the Department of African American Studies, as well as Vice Provost. In 2015, he was a Senior Visiting Scholar with the Carnegie "Next Generation of Academics in Africa" project at the University of Ghana. Panford provided critical input to Ghana's Petroleum Revenue Management Act and was a key resource person for developing the curriculum for the new Institute of Oil and Gas Studies at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. 

Bibliographic information


“This is an excellent critical study of contemporary Ghanaian economic history, more specifically, a study of the fraught consequences and prospects of the discovery of crude oil and gas … .” (Ato Sekyi-Out, MG Modern Ghana,, April, 2018)

“Panford’s book is recommended to all readers, including the secondary and tertiary youth. The ease of language without sacrificing technical details and relevant key terms offers much to aid the reader grasp what’s going on with Ghana and Africa’s bounty of resources: how Ghana’s gas, for example, can be used to become a ‘socially transformative asset’ … . This book is recommended for adoption in other developing countries as part of a new and progressive education and curriculum … .” (Anis Haffar, Graphic Online,, May, 2017)

“Africa’s Natural Resources and Underdevelopment: How Ghana’s Petroleum Can Create Sustainable Economic Prosperity Kwamina Panford examines the ways by which Ghana can minimize the associated negative ramifications of oil and gas extraction. … an exciting, well written and easy to comprehend book that will be appreciated by policy makers, students and academics.” (Austin Dziwornu Ablo, Geography Research Forum,, Vol. 37, 2017)