Natural Resources and African Economies: Asset or Liability?
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This chapter contributes to the debates on natural resources and socio-economic development in Africa. The resource curse hypothesis dominates how scholars, government officials, and the general public understand the developmental potential of natural resources. Nigeria and Angola are two common examples of countries that, despite massive oil wealth, have not seen a benefit from oil extraction. The outcomes associated with the resource curse include lower economic growth, lack of democracy, increased corruption, and increased conflict (Karl, The Paradox of Plenty. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997; Ross, World Politics 53: 297–322, 2001; Watts, Geopolitics 9: 50–80, 2004). While scholars continue to debate whether a causal relationship, or indeed even correlation, can be established, no policy maker can simply accept the notion of a curse without asking what can be done by resource-rich countries to produce more developmental outcomes.
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