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‘Resource Misery’ and the Politics of Resource Governance in the Petro-States of Africa

John Jingu


The discovery and exploitation of petroleum resources in a number of African countries has thrown into prominence the ‘resource curse’ thesis which suggests that resource wealth causes problems for a country. This article argues that petroleum resources, like all natural resources, are not a curse; instead, it is the actions and decisions of various actors involved in the struggle for such resources that lead to misery, particularly for the victims. The inappropriateness of the concept ‘resource curse’ in the context of Africa has moved this writer to propose an alternative concept – ‘resource misery’ – to reflect the actual condition that tends to befall a country and the victims owing to the often irresponsible actions and decisions of powerful actors involved in the abuse of natural resources. The article expands on seven maxims that, if embraced and implemented, should enable the new petro-states of Africa to escape resource misery.


Oil and Gas; Petroleum resources; Resource Curse; Resource Misery; Transnational Corporations

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