With the discovery that Ghana is sitting atop an estimated three billion barrels of oil, the impoverished West African nation is facing not just a flood of new wealth, but also its potential “undoing.”
So said President John Kufuor at an extractive industries forum in March. His words echo widespread concerns that the unrelenting poverty and corruption that plague other African oil nations could easily take hold in Ghana.
According to the United Nations news service, Ghanian officials say managing the flow of oil and revenue, expected to kick off in 2010 at 100,000 barrels a day, is the country’s greatest challenge since its independence 51 years ago.
The “Nigeria Scenario” is considered the benchmark to avoid.
Despite an output of 2.5 million barrels of oil a day, 70 percent of Nigeria’s 130 million citizen live on less than a dollar per day, and the nation is ranked by the U.N. as 158 out of 177 countries monitored in its “human development index.”
“Ghana: Government Prepares to Battle the ‘Oil Curse'”
United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks, April 22, 2008