Oil Drilling & Government Corruption In Chad: Lessons Learned??
How many countries have to suffer from the blindness of the World Bank and the cupidity of the big oil companies before oil drilling adventurism ceases? In today’s New York Times it’s reported that Chad’s great dreams of poverty alleviation through oil riches have collapsed under the weight of government corruption. Billions of dollars have been stolen, and the poor are still poor. (What this article doesn’t even touch on are the appalling oil spills in Cameroon due to poor people hacking at the 650-mile long pipeline as it snakes through the rainforest — the people just want to get some free oil.)
From the New York Times:
“Civic groups and opposition political parties had opposed the pipeline, saying Chad was too corrupt and poorly governed to manage the gusher of oil money.
“We knew from the very beginning how this would end,” said Antoine Berilengar, a Roman Catholic priest and anticorruption activist in Chad who served on the oversight panel. “Chad is a corrupt country with no real democracy. The government has simply enriched itself.”
Ian Gary, an Oxfam America specialist in managing mineral resources, said it was no surprise that the experiment had failed.
“The World Bank made a gamble,” he said. “It knew the situation in Chad going in, but it argued it could build the capacity of the Chadian government and the governance situation would improve alongside the oil boom. But what we have seen in Chad and in so many other places, it is that boom and that flow of revenue that undermines governance rather than improving it.”