Lucky Countries Or Lucky People: Will East Africans Benefit From Their Natural Resource Discoveries?

Reuters/Mohammed Nureldin Abdallah – Young men work at a collection point for used oil in the capital Khartoum, October 29, 2014.

Luck has struck the region of East Africa: for a couple of years now, new announcements of natural resource discoveries are being made every few months. Mozambique has found some of the largest natural gas deposits in the world, while Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya have also discovered gas and oil. Exploration is still ongoing, so even more discoveries could be forthcoming. Luck has definitely struck the region, but the main question is: how will the people in these countries  benefit from this?

In many parts of the world one can find examples of countries where natural resources have brought wealth to the majority of citizens. Oil discoveries turned Norwegians into some of the wealthiest people in the world (though they were quite well off even before the discoveries); Malaysia is about to join the group of “high income” countries and oil has been part of its success story; Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have transformed their oil resources into vibrant service economies, and so on.

The people of the 14 countries of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that the IMF characterized […]

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