Requiem for a Pipedream: Oil, the World Bank, and the Need for Human Rights Assessments
Dustin N. Sharp
University of San Diego - School of Peace Studies
Emory International Law Review, Vol. 25, No. 1, p. 379, 2011
The revenues associated with oil and other extractives projects in sub-Saharan Africa raise the hope of using natural resources to achieve significant poverty alleviation. In practice, however, extractives projects are often associated with poor governance and human rights abuses, and do not tend to alleviate poverty — a phenomenon known as the “resource curse.” In the late 1990s, the World Bank served as the architect for a series of policy interventions intended to beat the resource curse by ensuring that the newfound oil wealth of the central African state of Chad be channeled into poverty alleviation efforts. Ten years later, the World Bank has pulled out of the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline project, and its efforts to ensure that oil wealth be translated into poverty reduction are considered to be a failure. This article analyzes the various “lessons learned” that have been articulated in the wake of the project’s collapse, and argues that unless the World Bank develops a more cohesive human rights policy with respect to lending decisions and policy interventions, the Chadian experience will likely repeat itself in future extractives projects. In the future, human rights assessments could be an important policy tool for predicting where extractive industries projects stand the best chance of being channeled into poverty alleviation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 30, 2012
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