Skip to content
Topics
Stories

In Ghana, are New Resources a Blessing or Curse?

Kwamina Pan­ford, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of African Amer­ican Studies at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, wants to know whether the African nation of Ghana will fall victim to the Resource Curse.

That is the phrase social sci­en­tists use when coun­tries plen­tiful in nat­ural resources mis­manage those resources, often resulting in unbri­dled con­flict and cor­rup­tion. Pan­ford has been awarded a Ful­bright schol­ar­ship to study in Ghana and deter­mine whether the country is likely to manage new­found resources wisely and well.

“Ghana today pro­vides excep­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties to social sci­en­tists inter­ested in the rela­tions between devel­op­ment, gov­er­nance and nat­ural resources,” said Pan­ford. “It is deemed to be suc­cessful at estab­lishing demo­c­ratic gov­er­nance while the nation pre­pares to uti­lize new rev­enues from its first com­mer­cial oil and gas fields, located some 60 to 70 miles from its shores.”

For these rea­sons, the country is becoming a test case for whether oil will lead to socio-​​economic devel­op­ment or be a source of new social and polit­ical ills, including vio­lent con­flicts that have rav­aged other African nations, he said.
Pan­ford will spend his sab­bat­ical studying how Ghana’s gov­ern­ment uti­lizes the oil and gas from the country’s newly dis­cov­ered deep-​​sea oil fields. He will also lec­ture about Africa’s polit­ical economy and the role of inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions at the Uni­ver­sity of Cape Coast.

“Ghana’s pres­i­dent has said that he wants the oil to ben­efit all people in Ghana. The country has an oppor­tu­nity to become the model for country-​​managed resources,” Pan­ford said.

This year, Ghana’s par­lia­ment passed the Petro­leum Rev­enue Man­age­ment Bill, which promises greater trans­parency and account­ability. The bill gives the gov­ern­ment per­mis­sion to use 70 per­cent of oil rev­enues to sup­port its budget, while 30 per­cent is saved in “Her­itage and Sta­bi­liza­tion” funds.

As he studies in Ghana, Pan­ford is looking for­ward to wit­nessing first-​​hand how the country imple­ments the bill.

This new inter­na­tional research oppor­tu­nity will also mark Panford’s return to Ghana. He has been a con­sul­tant for the Insti­tute for Devel­op­ment Studies, where he trav­eled to Ghana’s coast to study the economy and envi­ron­ment and doc­u­ment the scene prior to oil pro­duc­tion. The Ful­bright schol­ar­ship will allow him to con­tinue con­ducting his research in an area of par­tic­ular pas­sion for him.

“I feel doubly for­tu­nate because the Ful­bright is not only an aca­d­emic oppor­tu­nity, but it also involves my life inter­ests,” Pan­ford said. “The award will enable me to study how Ghana and other African coun­tries are gov­erned and how oil impacts gov­er­nance, social and eco­nomic devel­op­ment. I will incor­po­rate this expe­ri­ence into my courses at North­eastern in African Amer­ican Studies and polit­ical science.”

– by Lauren Dibble

More Stories

Photo of the Capitol Building at night

High stakes for politics, SCOTUS in 2018

01.04.2018
Photo of the crashed truck that was used in the October 31st attack in Manhattan.

Weaponizing Language: How the meaning of “allahu akbar” has been distorted

11.08.2017
Northeastern logo

Why I love studying Spanish

05.29.20
Uncategorized