Organization: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development
Location: Accra, Ghana
Averting the Resource Curse in Ghana: The Role of Civil Society Prospects and Limitations.
While the resource curse is still contested at a theoretical level, in practice there is some concern about the harmful potential effects for countries overly dependent on natural resources. As a result, a number of resource-rich developing countries are increasingly adopting different multi-stakeholder initiatives in an effort to avoid the resource curse phenomenon. While civil society is often expected to play a key role in these multi-stakeholder initiatives there has been very limited efforts to explicitly consider how civil society groups understand the resource curse, see their role in the fight to avoid the resource curse and the extent to which civil society is able to effectively play this role. This is particularly true in the context of Ghana where oil has recently been discovered in commercial quantities. Hence, while popular discourse, including governmental and civil society rhetoric, is shaped by how Ghana can avoid the Nigerian experience, and follow in the steps of their role model, Norway, the extent to which civil society can live up to the expectations of it in multi-stakeholder initiatives remains unexamined. This Major Research Paper seeks to critically examine how civil society groups understand the resource curse, and the nature of their efforts to avoid the resource curse vis-a-vis multi-stakeholder initiatives. This Major Research Paper will argue that while civil society in Ghana accepts the concept of the resource curse as having practical implications, its ability to play an effective role to help avert it remains limited and at times contradictory. This Major Research Paper concludes by considering the implications for efforts to avoid the resource curse phenomenon in resource-rich African countries.