Thursday, December 03, 2009

chad and the oil curse

From here

The discovery of oil in Chad was supposed to allieviate poverty and human suffering, but it's only enriched Western Oil companies and the local dictators. For Chadian President Idriss Deby, oil revenues are a means to prolong abusive and undemocratic rule. He changed the constitution to become president for life, used over 30% of Chad’s oil revenues on war, and used money destined for development in “priority sectors” to grant opaque, no-bid public contracts to god knows whom -- all things he promised not to do. Many promises were also made to people living in the oil-producing zone in the southwest of Chad. Villagers were promised fair compensation for the loss of land expropriated by Exxon, employment with the oil companies for the life of the project, and 5% of oil revenues to be invested in their villages. According to local residents, these promises were empty.

Chad spent 4.5 times more money on the military than it did on health, education, and other social spending combined. Despite the World Bank’s guarantee of a model framework for oil-led development, oil has continued to fuel war where civilians are the primary victims.The oil for war and war for oil reality is deeply ingrained in Chad’s popular political consciousness.

Bluntly put, oil in Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon, Chad, Angola, and Sudan has further impoverished people at best and caused inestimable human suffering in many cases.The extractive industries almost never contribute to development.

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