Jedrzej George Frynas, Lars Buur · 2020
The Extractive Industries and Society · Elsevier BV

The presource curse in Africa: Economic and political effects of anticipating natural resource revenues

The notion of the ‘resource curse’ suggests that large inflows of extractive industry revenues cause many adverse macro-economic and political effects. The resource curse literature focuses on the impact of actual inflows of extractive resource revenues. However, anticipation of future resource revenues can also lead to negative macro-economic and political effects even before resource extraction takes place, which points to the role of behavioral aspects of the ‘resource curse’. Using empirical evidence from three African countries, this article investigates to what extent the anticipation of future extractive revenues led to ‘presource curse’ effects. It finds that all three countries experienced negative effects as a result of anticipation of future extractive revenues, including economic growth volatility, higher levels of national debt, eroded governance and societal conflicts. Given the phenomenal increase in oil, gas and metal ore exploration across Africa, it is likely that many countries experience the negative effects of a presource curse without natural resource extraction or long before natural resources are actually extracted.

Full publication is available on: DOI 10.1016/j.exis.2020.05.014

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Lars Buur

Lars Buur
Roskilde University

Lars Buur has been Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University, Denmark, since 2014. His research focuses on the political economy of extractive natural resource governance and post-conflict state formation in Southern and Eastern Africa. From 2015-2020, he was Programme Coordinator of the HIERARCHIES of Rights research programme on struggles related to large-scale investments into natural resources in Sub-Sahara Africa. In the past, Lars Buur has worked in several positions at the Danish Institute for International, the Nordic Africa Institute Uppsala, the Centre for Development Research, and Aarhus University.

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