Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mozambique , will the oil curse strike again ?

I read here

The rights to Mozambique's minerals, including heavy metals, coal, natural gas and possible oil reserves have been auctioned off to multinational companies at a rapid rate in recent years.
In the past five years alone, South African company Sasol has begun exporting natural gas from Inhambane Province; Kenmare, the Ireland-based firm and South African company Corridor Sands are mining titanium deposits in Gaza Province, about 200km north of the capital, Maputo, and an array of companies from the United States, Brazil, Canada, Norway, Italy and Malaysia are prospecting for oil reserves .
According to estimates by the government's Ministry of Planning and Development, even small reserves of oil would increase total annual exports from US$6.5 billion to more than US$10 billion by 2020; if the finds are more extensive, total export values of US$60 billion annually are being predicted.

A study, "Exploring Natural Resources in Mozambique: Will it be a blessing or a curse?", released in June 2007 by the planning and development ministry, summarised concerns using data from other countries rich in mineral resources. It found that, on average, the relationship between natural resource wealth and GDP growth was negative. It also determined that natural resource wealth has no demonstrable relationship to a population's overall wellbeing as measured by the United Nation's Human Development Index . Angola, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Sudan vast oil reserves have failed to improve the livelihoods of the majority of the inhabitants. Known as the "natural resource curse", the negative effects of mineral wealth on a country's population are legion: it can inflate the local currency, making other enterprises less competitive in the international market; fluctuations in the price of oil, gas and minerals create a volatile exchange rate that often discourages foreign direct investment; mineral revenue windfalls also have a tendency to encourage poor government policy and increase foreign debt.
Socialist Banner has previously reported the "Oil Curse" here and we are not surprised by this report's findings .

"Resource revenues may contribute to myopic behaviour and irrational expectations on the side of the government, leading to accumulation of debt with resource stocks as collateral," the study noted.

Academic NuSpeak for capitalist greed and corruption .

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