Oil has always been seen as a source of wealth for many countries with more reserves of it. But a majority of these countries, especially in Africa, still have so many problems. Nigeria and Angola, for instance, are plagued by corruption, poverty and violence.
This week alone more than 700 Nigerians were killed in what was an avoidable violence.
Soon, oil will start flowing in Ghana and Uganda. Both countries recently approved the development of their first major oil fields from discoveries made two years ago. In Ghana, the Jubilee is located in the Gulf of Guinea and is considered a world-class prospect. The first crude is expected in the second half of next year.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that oil and natural gas from the Jubilee field could bring as much as $20 billion to Ghana by 2030. In a country where a third of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day, that money can go a long way.
The oil revenues can help the government improve education, health care and public infrastructure. Much of the money will have to be used to plug the big budget deficit, but the indirect effect of the income will still be huge. In Uganda, some question whether President Yoweri Museveni’s government can deliver a clean and accountable oil industry.
There are already allegations of corruption and a lack of transparency in the way Museveni is handling the oil program. We have seen the movie before. But we hope thinsg will be different this time.