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Responding to the Challenge of Fragility and Security in West Africa : Natural Resources, Extractive Industry Investment, and Social Conflict

EMPLOYMENT FISH REVENUE SHARING ECONOMIC GROWTH ACCOUNTING DEPOSITS ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION FOREIGN INVESTORS INTEREST LAWS EXPECTATIONS PRIVATIZATION GOVERNMENT INDUSTRY RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROPERTY RIGHTS ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS GOVERNMENT REVENUES RESPONSIBILITY LOCAL GOVERNMENTS POLITICAL ECONOMIES STRATEGIES TIMBER ETHNIC GROUPS SERVICES RIVER BASINS DISCRIMINATION POLITICAL ECONOMY REVENUES ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES FISCAL POLICY ECONOMIC PROBLEMS INCENTIVES SOCIOECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION PROJECTS NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS AUTHORITIES CORRUPTION SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FISCAL FEDERALISM NATIONAL LEVEL DEVELOPED COUNTRIES AUTHORITARIANISM ECONOMIC ACTIVITY PRESENT VALUE SOCIAL CONFLICT STATES EXPLOITATION COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OIL WELFARE EFFECTS EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE AUTHORITY PRODUCTIVITY OPTIONS EXTERNALITIES MIGRATION TRANSFERS CENTRALIZATION BARRIERS TO ENTRY MARKETS ROYALTY LOCAL GOVERNMENT STATE AUTHORITIES LEGISLATION POLLUTION CENTRAL GOVERNMENTS REGULATORY MECHANISMS LABOR NATURAL RESOURCES TRUST FUNDS METALS COUNCILS LEGAL FRAMEWORK FINANCE EFFICIENCY FISHING INFRASTRUCTURE TAXES LAND USE ENTITLEMENTS EFFECTIVE USE BANKS RESOURCES DEVOLUTION FISCAL LOCAL TAXES ACCOUNTABILITY TRANSPARENCY VALUES VALUE POLICY MAKERS BANK FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT CREDIT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS DEFORESTATION CENTRAL GOVERNMENT MINES GOVERNMENT REVENUE EXPENDITURES ENVIRONMENTS PROPERTY DECISION-MAKING DECISION MAKING TAX RATES TRANSACTION COSTS ENVIRONMENT SOIL DEGRADATION PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS STREAMS CITIZENS REGULATORY REGIMES ADMINISTRATION GOVERNANCE FISHERIES REGIONAL INTEGRATION TRADE GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION STATE LAND REGIONS LOCAL COUNCILS RISK MINISTRY OF FINANCE TAX SYSTEM PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PUBLIC FINANCES SUBNATIONAL GOVERNMENTS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ECOLOGY WATER POLLUTION DECENTRALIZATION GOVERNMENT STRUCTURES REVENUE LOCAL GOVERNMENT STRUCTURES RESOURCE CURSE INSURGENCY FISCAL REVENUE PROFITS ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNMENTS POLITICAL INSTABILITY PRICES NEGATIVE EXTERNALITIES PIT ECONOMIES CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
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World Bank, Washington, DC
Africa | West Africa
2015-08-19T17:08:03Z | 2015-08-19T17:08:03Z | 2015

The inability to unlock natural resource wealth for the benefit of developing countries’ local populations, a phenomenon popularly known as the ‘resource curse’ or the ‘paradox of plenty’, has spawned extensive debate among researchers and policy makers in recent years. There is now a well-established body of literature exploring the links between natural resources and conflict, with some sources estimating that over the past 60 years, 40 percent of civil wars have been associated with natural resources. Following this introduction, Section two provides an overview of interstate tensions in West Africa in order to improve understanding of the drivers of fragility that trigger conflict between countries around extractive industry investment. Here, the discussion is grounded in examples in which interstate tensions have been apparent, including the case of the Mano River Union, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, a region with a history of conflict, and where the exploitation of commercial deposits of high-value resources may continue to have a potentially destabilizing effect. Section three focuses on the decentralization of natural resource revenues, a process that proponents believe can help manage grievances and defuse intrastate tension in areas directly affected by resource extraction, but one that is also not without challenges. Drawing upon the case of Ghana’s Mineral Development Fund, the section explores the potential for conflict (and conflict triggers) to arise when the redistribution of extractive industry revenues to subnational regions takes place. In doing so, it becomes apparent that the capture and misuse of revenues from the fund is as much a political issue as it is a policy or technical one. This sets the stage for section four, which focuses in greater detail on extractive industry-related conflict within catchment communities, and how contestation is most often a result of unequal power relationships. Section five, the conclusion, summarizes and reflects upon some of the challenges and struggles over resource management associated with West Africa’s recent resource boom, and draws out some of the cross-cutting themes. Here, suitable entry points for future lines of inquiry and engagement are identified.

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