Skip to main content

About this book

The book provides an in-depth analysis of the governance of Africa's natural resource sectors (oil, biofuels, forestry, fisheries, minerals) and new insights for readers as they navigate the burgeoning research on global governance initiatives and regional/national strategies that seek to improve the governance of the continent's natural resources.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Theoretical Approaches and Policy Implications


1. ‘New’ Approaches to the Governance of Africa’s Natural Resources

Extant work on natural resources in Africa has made significant contributions towards our understanding of key challenges and prospects facing the sector, especially with regard to governance-related matters. Discussions on the multifaceted nature of relevant stakeholders in the resource sector have particularly been fruitful in yielding renewed engagement with previously neglected dynamics such as the role of corporate actors and the significance of global standards in the regulation of natural resources on the continent. In this context, the scholarship on natural resource governance in Africa has arguably evolved from a predominant view that held state actors as the primary actors of resource governance to one that acknowledges the powerful role of non-state actors such as multinational corporations and civil society organizations in the governance process. Yet, with a great number of analyses studying the significance of various state and non-state actors’ impacts on African natural resource governance, much remains to be deciphered with regard to the local and global norms and structures through, and within, which these various stakeholders operate. This book is innovative in its approach in that it aims to advance our understanding of such norms and structures, by presenting recent scholarship from various disciplinary perspectives, thus illustrating throughout the chapters an extensive coverage of a different number of natural resource sectors and resource-rich African countries.
J. Andrew Grant, W. R. Nadège Compaoré, Matthew I. Mitchell, Mats Ingulstad

2. Interrogating the ‘Good’ in ‘Good Governance’: Rethinking Natural Resource Governance Theory and Practice in Africa

The concept of ‘governance’ risks becoming an empty catch-all phrase. This is even truer for a concept such as ‘good governance’, which is often prescribed as a panacea for any number of Africa’s woes. Although the concept seems intuitive, intuition will suffice neither for academic nor policy research, and cannot serve as the foundation for policy recommendations. his chapter aims to conceptualize governance and then to problematize the ideal of ‘good governance’. Throughout, and in order to ground the discussion in real-world cases, arguments are illustrated with examples from the Democratic Republic of Congo and other resource-rich countries in Africa.
Mari-Lise du Preez

Governance Challenges in Africa’s Oil Sectors


3. The Rise and Fall of Oil-Rentier States in Africa

This chapter is concerned with African ‘rentier states’, a category first coined by an Iranian economist Hossein Mahdavy (1970), writing about the problems of oil dependency in Iran. His theory was successfully applied by other scholars working on Arab countries (e.g., Beblawi and Luciani, 1987), Sub-Saharan Africa (e.g., Yates, 1996; Omeje, 2008; Watts, 2008), and then Latin America (e.g., Buxton, 2008; Campodöcino, 2008). More than a simple pejorative, this classification refers to a complex of associated ideas concerning negative developmental patterns in economies dominated by external rent, particularly oil rent, in the developing world. The rise and fall of these states is more than just another boom-and-bust cycle of resource dependency. Instead of cultivating an ethic of hard work, oil rentiers follow an easy path to quick riches, spending money which they have not earned. The more eagerly they spend their unearned oil revenues striving to reach development, the farther they recede from it. Like those men described by Seneca who desire to live happily, but whose minds are blinded to a clear vision of just what it is that makes life happy: ‘The more eagerly a man strives to reach it, the farther he recedes from it if he has made a mistake in the road; for when it leads in the opposite direction, his very speed will increase the distance that separates him’ (Seneca, 2006: 99).
Douglas A. Yates

4. Access to Information and Transparency Provisions in Petroleum Laws in Africa: A Comparative Analysis

Petroleum laws are being developed or reformed in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Recent discoveries of oil and natural gas in Ghana, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kenya, and other countries have led to the development of more comprehensive petroleum regulatory regimes (BBC, 2012; Guardian, 2012). Established producers, such as Nigeria, have also taken steps to reform their laws to address new contexts and challenges, including national and international demands for increased scrutiny and transparency in the extractive industry sector. For example, several governments and corporations have endorsed the voluntary disclosure standards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).1 In Africa, Nigeria (2007) and Liberia (2009) have passed EITI legislation (EITI, 2009; NEITI, 2012).
Peter G. Veit, Carole Excell

5. Micro-Level Effects of Oil Resources: Insights from a Survey of Angolan Microcredit Clients

Walking the streets of central Luanda, the capital of oil- and diamond-rich Angola, you cannot help but notice the stark disparities. The tall office buildings of the oil and diamond companies present a marked contrast to the poverty of the children selling small items to passing cars in the streets. If you venture a little further from the city centre, there are large slum areas where people live with limited access to basic necessities such as clean water or medical facilities. It is not that inequality and poverty cannot be found in other countries. However, research shows that these problems are greater in natural resource-rich countries such as Angola than they are in other countries. This phenomenon is often called the ‘resource curse’ or the ‘paradox of plenty’ (Auty, 1993; Karl, 1997). Based on available data, Angola has one of the world’s highest Gini coefficients,1 even when compared to other oil-rich states, as illustrated in Figure 5.1.
Allan Cain, Ivar Kolstad, Arne Wiig

6. Bridging the Governance Gap in South Sudan: Connecting Policy-Makers to Populations in Africa’s Newest Oil-Producing Country

On 9 July 2011, South Sudan became the newest country in Africa after it won a war of independence from the Sudanese government in Khartoum — a war that was largely fought over its right to govern its own natural resources. Notwithstanding this victory, a wide range of critically important governance policies have yet to be developed and implemented. While the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) may have defeated its rival in a recent referendum for independence, a formidable amount of work remains to be done. Despite the innumerable challenges facing the country, notable progress was made in the early stages of the post-independence period. During this time, the GOSS and international organizations had a crucial window during which fundamental improvements to health, nutrition, and food security were made possible. In addition, anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that household livelihoods had improved since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the belligerent parties and during the post-independence period. For example, resettlement activities returned many people previously displaced from their homes, allowing these households to resume their livelihoods. Moreover, improved infrastructure and flow of goods and services had a significantly positive effect on both the economy and the morale of the South Sudanese population.
Conrad Winn, Melissa Jennings, Matthew I. Mitchell

Governance Challenges in Africa’s Non-Petroleum Natural Resource Sectors


7. Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships in Mining: From Engagement to Development in Ghana

This chapter will assess the potential for multi-stakeholder partnerships between mining companies, NGOs, local communities, and local government to foster community-level development in Ghana. Although such partnerships have been attempted in other resource-rich African countries such as South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), only recently has Ghana seen initiatives of this nature. Mining companies are often ill-equipped internally to promote development, and local governance structures often lack the capacity to develop cohesive socio-economic development strategies in areas affected by mining. The chapter will assess the possibilities and challenges of realizing community-level development through multi-stakeholder partnerships in Ghana. Multi-stakeholder partnerships have the potential to address institutional weaknesses, governance gaps and the high poverty levels typical of rural Ghana where mining takes place. We argue that, for multi-stakeholder partnerships to realize their full potential, backward and forward supply and value chain linkages within the economy, as well as a forward consideration of economic legacies that would survive mineral extraction, must be fostered. As has been widely noted in the literature, the extractive sector has a troubling legacy in developing countries, including many African states.1
Hevina S. Dashwood, Bill Buenar Puplampu

8. Network Governance and the African Timber Organization: Prospects for Regional Forestry Governance in Africa

Forests, covering over 30 per cent of our planet’s surface, come in many shapes and sizes — from the snow-covered evergreen woods of colder climes to the tropical rainforests sweltering along the equator. These wooded ecosystems, often holding little more in common than a dense concentration of trees, are very important to their respective regions’ ecological balance. Forests are vital ‘carbon sinks’ that absorb carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen necessary for life to exist on our planet. Forests are a source of shelter, food, fuel, heat, and wide variety of manufactured goods for human populations. Their importance cannot be overstressed. Accordingly, the governments of most countries endowed with these precious resources, and a host of other organizations, have taken great pains to ensure that forests are utilized in a sustainable way that will not damage this natural resource beyond regeneration.
J. Andrew Grant, Dianne Balraj, Jeremy Davison, Georgia Mavropoulos-Vagelis

9. Refocusing Governance from the ‘Bottom-Up’: Understanding the Gendered Dynamics of Land Deals for Biofuel Development in Kenya and Tanzania

Ongoing global and regional food crises since the global financial downturn of 2008 have catalysed much analysis regarding agricultural production and the development of agricultural land. The result is a renewed interest in large-scale foreign agricultural investment in regions with large swaths of ‘unused’ arable land, often formally unclaimed or state-owned land that has not been developed for large-scale agricultural production. In 2012, the International Land Coalition (ILC) estimated that land deals reported as approved or under negotiation between 2000 and 2010 totalled 203 million hectares worldwide, 134 million hectares of which is African land (Anseeuw et al., 2012: 4). Consequently, such investments have been critically labelled ‘land grabs’, echoing colonial quests for land and leading to speculation about a new ‘scramble’ for African land (Southall and Me lb er, 2009). For international organizations such as the World Bank, ‘governance’ has emerged as a key focus. Many researchers argue that weak governance structures in several African countries have made them ideally suited to investment interests seeking to avoid legal and political complications (Deininger et al., 2010; FAO et al., 2010; Anseeuw et al., 2012). In response, efforts to establish global standards for ‘responsible investment’ have already been undertaken, touting the benefits of agricultural investment and claiming the detrimental impacts are largely the result of ‘weak governance’ at the state level (FAO et al, 2010).
Andrea Collins

10. Casting the Net Widely: Effective Governance and the Contribution of Fisheries to the Development of African Countries

Africa’s marine fisheries and oceans have contributed significantly to the livelihood of the continent’s coastal communities for centuries. The shell middens found off the coast of Eritrea in the Red Sea are the oldest record of human consumption of sea food (Walter et al., 2000; Mayer and Beyin, 2009). The Fantis of Ghana have been fishing along the West African coast since the 18th century (Alder and Sumaiia, 2004; Atta-Mills et al., 2004). Marine resources could continue to serve as a sustainable source of economic development. That is, social and cultural values for coastal African countries if marine resources are managed and governed effectively with regard to the environment. In this chapter, we explore the opportunities and challenges facing African fisheries, with the objective of providing insights for policy-makers and the public, to help them develop policies for the sustainable development of African fisheries, both for current and future generations. By sustainability we here mean the ability to maintain the regeneration potential of fisheries resources indefinitely into the future so that they can support the social and economic needs of the society for many generations to come.
Ussif Rashid Sumaila, Dawit Tesfamichael

11. Hydropolitics and Transboundary River Basin Management Nuances in the Southern African Development Community

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region covers 14 sovereign states (Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC], Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), two of which are islands (Mauritius and Madagascar). The 12 mainland African states are linked by 21 river basins that cross international political borders, 15 of which are considered to be the most important in terms of socioeconomic development. The SADC region is characterized by a specific hydrological regime, arising from the fact that the majority of the area lies between the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone and the Southern Ocean, both of which drive different patterns of weather and precipitation. To further complicate matters, the two dominant weather systems are also mediated by the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which introduces a further element of unpredictability into the equation. This biophysical characteristic is superimposed onto a set of countries, each with different developmental trajectories, different political histories, differing legal systems that reflect previous colonial legacies and diverse natural resource endowments. The ending of the Cold War has resulted in an attenuation of localized theatres of political instability, which in turn has meant that the SADC region is now set to grow economically into a more integrated regional grouping, possibly along similar lines to that of the European Union (EU).
Anthony Turton

Concluding Remarks: New Challenges and Opportunities


12. Global and Local Challenges and Opportunities: Reflections on China and the Governance of African Natural Resources

China’s three decades of unbroken growth, transforming it from an economic backwater to the world’s second largest economy, has fuelled an ever-expanding demand for energy, strategic minerals, and new markets (Downs, 2004: 21-41; Oliveira, 2008: 83-109). The promulgation of the government’s ‘going out’ strategy, whereby over a hundred restructured state-owned enterprises have been given the legal and administrative means, preferential access to finance, and diplomatic support necessary to break into markets outside of China, has been the main policy response to this need. Given the financial resources of what by 2006 had become the world’s largest holder of foreign reserves (over USD 3 trillion as of mid-2012) and applying these to the problem of carving out a position in the energy and strategic minerals markets was, in retrospect, a fairly straightforward solution to this dilemma in a capital-starved African environment.
Christopher Alden, Ana Cristina Alves

13. Prospects and Trends in the Governance of Africa’s Natural Resources: Reflections on the Role of External and Internal Actors

Contemporary studies of Africa’s natural resource sectors are concerned with concepts such as governance, transnational m, regionalism (s), ‘network’/’public’ diplomacy, norms (e.g., good governance and corporate social responsibility), and conflict commodities. By way of conclusion, this chapter aims not only to identify and elaborate upon the most important theoretical, empirical, and policy trends associated with these concepts and place them in a broader perspective but also to reflect upon what generalizations may be made regarding the diffusion of such concepts and their impact on governance in Africa’s natural resource sectors. To this end, the chapter is divided into five main sections. The first section revisits the theme of oil in Africa by examining the shift away from privileging a focus on energy ‘security’ towards the embracing of a new agenda on energy ‘governance’. This provides us with a new lens to understand why governance challenges in the oil sector (and other natural resource sectors) must move beyond dominant state-centric approaches. The second section explores the prospects and trends in Africa’s natural resources by focusing on a series of interrelated themes around the continent’s most important resource — land. This section is divided into three subsections that explore the following issues related to the governance of land in Africa: the rise of land grabs, the growth of Chinese investments in Africa’s natural resource sectors, and land conflicts and the politics around land reform.
J. Andrew Grant, W. R. Nadège Compaoré, Matthew I. Mitchell, Timothy M. Shaw


Additional information

Premium Partner

    Image Credits