A Country without a State? Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea; a regional case study

Owen Logan

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper


Flammable Societies Conference, 1-5 July 2009 - In this conference we seek to discuss and develop new answers and qualitative approaches to the problem of the "resource curse". For the last fifty years academics have been trying to solve the conundrum of why it is that despite endowment with natural wealth the majority of countries with oil and gas reserves have failed to utilise these resources to the benefit of their national economy and citizens. Rather than fulfilling the intuitive expectations of economic prosperity, the discovery of oil and gas is instead commonly linked with high rates of poverty, malnutrition, child illiteracy, corruption, authoritarianism, and indebtedness. Indeed, oil and gas exporting countries are more likely to be described as suffering from a "resource curse" or "paradox of plenty". It is now commonly reported in resource related research and the world's media that countries dependent on oil and gas for their livelihood are in general amongst the most economically troubled and most conflict-ridden in the world. What remains unknown are definitive answers explaining, and avoiding this outcome.

Recognising the current weaknesses and empirical ambiguities of current approaches to the idea of a "resource curse", this conference brings together a group of both national and international scholars studying the linkages that exist between oil and gas industry development and the generation of conflict and poverty on the one hand, and the possibilities for generating peaceful economic, political and social opportunities on the other. As such the conference aims to study and comment as much on the experience of Bolivia, as it does cases and experiences from other parts of the world (Venezuela, UK, Canada, Norway, Scotland, Nigeria, Angola, and Azerbaijan).

The conference will reveal the differing relationships that are formed between oil and gas rich states and private actors (companies, labour unions, oil workers and neighbouring local communities), and the formative linkages that often exist between these and the formation of policies for social responsibility, investment, and development.

In contrast to earlier approaches to the "resource curse" the conference will promote qualitative and anthropological approaches to understanding resource politics and energy issues in general. With their ability to pick up on the linkages between different levels of decision-making, the nuances of power relations and the interactions of institutional and non-institutional actors, these methods offer new ways to study resource governance and help to highlight the possible foundations of new government policy initiatives.

The conference is organised in conjunction with the ongoing research of a major international project funded by the Norwegian Research Council and based at Chr. Michelsens Institute (CMI) in Norway, and to which the Postgraduate Centre in Development Studies (CIDES) at the Universidad Mayor de San Andres (UMSA) is a major partner institution.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2009
EventFlammable Societies Conference - La Paz, Bolivia, Plurinational State of
Duration: 1 Jul 20095 Jul 2009


ConferenceFlammable Societies Conference
Country/TerritoryBolivia, Plurinational State of
CityLa Paz


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