Oil, Politics, and Ghana’s Democracy

Issue Date July 2012
Volume 23
Issue 3
Page Numbers 94-108
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Africa’s natural resource-rich countries tend to combine mismanagement of their “windfall” with poor record of democratic governance. Yet, for Ghana, which has recently become an oil producer, the prospect of escaping the “resource curse” is decent—largely on account of its current status as an electoral democracy. While the prevailing democratic political environment has contributed positively to the crafting of policy governing the new oil sector, and legislation and nascent institutions partially justify such optimism, severe deficiencies in contemporary Ghanaian politics, together with the new resource’s aggravation of the country’s patronage-fuelled democracy and acrimonious political competition, give cause for caution.