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The Politics of Governing Oil Effectively: A Comparative Study of Two New Oil-Rich States in Africa

Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) Working Paper series, No. 54

36 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2015  

Sam Hickey

University of Manchester

Abdul‐Gafaru Abdulai

University of Ghana - Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management; University of Manchester - School of Environment, Education and Development

Angelo Izama

Independent

Giles Mohan

The Open University

Date Written: October 2015

Abstract

The challenges facing developing countries with new-found natural resource wealth are generally understood in terms of whether they have the institutions of ‘good governance’ required to avoid the resource curse. New insights from a political settlements perspective show how deeper forms of politics and power relations play a more significant role than such institutions, and help explain some counter-intuitive findings regarding how ‘semi-authoritarian’ Uganda seems to be governing oil somewhat more in line with its national interest as compared to ‘democratic’ Ghana. We find that bureaucratic ‘pockets of effectiveness’ play a critical role, with outcomes shaped by the nature of their embedded autonomy vis-à-vis different kinds of ruling coalition. Efforts to promote ‘best-practice’ governance reforms in such contexts might be misplaced, and could be replaced with a stronger focus on building specific forms of state capacity and a greater acceptance that ‘developmental collusion’ between political and bureaucratic actors may offer more appropriate or ‘best-fit’ solutions.

Keywords: oil, governance, political settlements, Africa, Ghana, Uganda

Suggested Citation

Hickey, Sam and Abdulai, Abdul‐Gafaru and Izama, Angelo and Mohan, Giles, The Politics of Governing Oil Effectively: A Comparative Study of Two New Oil-Rich States in Africa (October 2015). Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) Working Paper series, No. 54. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2695723 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2695723

Sam Hickey (Contact Author)

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai

University of Ghana - Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management ( email )

Ghana

University of Manchester - School of Environment, Education and Development ( email )

Manchester
United Kingdom

Angelo Izama

Independent ( email )

Giles Mohan

The Open University ( email )

Milton Keynes, MK6 7AA

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