Rigged? The scramble for Africa’s oil, gas and minerals
The intensifying competition for commercial access to the world’s remaining deposits of oil, gas and minerals brings with it a serious risk of exacerbating corruption and violent conflict. Our new report shows that in Angola and Nigeria there is a risk that complex deals struck between governments and corporations for access to natural resources could be used corruptly to benefit vested interests in these countries, rather than the citizens. The report also points to major concerns over opaque sales of mining assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo to offshore companies.
Our research reveals two major problems in the government allocation of oil contracts:
- Governments are not making clear the grounds for why a particular company is given a contract. In certain cases, they appear to allow certain companies special or preferential access to oil licences, leading to doubts about the integrity of the process.
- Governments are awarding the licences to companies whose beneficial owners remain undisclosed. In certain cases, there are grounds for suspicion that some of the companies may be owned or controlled by government or their private sector proxies.
If citizens do not know why particular companies have been awarded natural resource licenses, it can lead to suspicions of wrongdoing, especially in countries like Nigeria, Angola and the DRC with track records of natural resource related corruption. Transparency is crucial for citizen’s ability to trust that there has been no conflict of interest and to ensure that Angola, Nigeria and the DRC use their natural resource revenues for development and poverty reduction.
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