Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Could Uganda Be the Next Niger Delta?

Center for Global Development
2 August 2011

By Todd Moss

That’s the question in Alan Vicky’s piece this morning in Le Monde Diplomatique (gated). Vicky warns that oil discoveries in Uganda’s Bunyoro region threaten to heighten simmering tensions between the local communities whose ground is being drilled and the central government which is pocketing the cash. Unmet expectations and popular frustration with politicians could unleash violence and do raise concerns that Uganda might be heading for a rough patch. Given the technical characteristics of Uganda’s crude and that the country is landlocked widespread “bunkering” and criminality as seen in the Niger Delta are probably unlikely.  But the risk of local grievance-driven violence and sabotage is all too real.

Just as worrying—and likely a much greater risk—is Uganda’s worsening corruption. A country’s ability to reap the benefits of new income seems to largely depend on the strength of current institutions. A wall of new oil money—coupled with new projections that Uganda’s oil reserves might actually be double previous estimates— could very well accelerate the country’s disappointing decline in governance.

See also:


Oil for Uganda – or Ugandans? Can Cash Transfers Prevent the Resource Curse?

CGD  Working Paper 261
Alan Gelb and Stephanie Majerowicz

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