African Oil Find Not Likely to Help Poor

The tiny island nation of Sao Tome is about to unlock the wealth from an estimated 11 billion barrels of oil from the seabed beneath those same Atlantic waters. The government says the oil is the answer to this country’s grinding poverty.

Too often, in too many places across Africa, oil has only fomented despotism and cronyism, and left the poor poorer. Already, even before a drop has been pumped here, oil has fueled political squabbling in this country, which now exports little more than cocoa and imports almost everything else.

Global Witness, a group that tracks corruption in resource-rich developing countries, welcomed safeguards Sao Tome officials pledge will help them avoid a repeat of oil’s corrosive effects, but noted that some measures, especially a commitment to establishing independent oversight committees, have still not been enacted.

Leonarda Miguel, 73, lives in a quarter of the capital called Liberdade (Freedom), named after the country’s 1975 independence. She, her daughter and granddaughter share a dingy, two-room house with no running water, no sanitation and sporadic electricity. There is no glass in the windows, and her front door is an ill fit.

“I go to sleep hungry and I wake up hungry,” she says, mimicking sleep by clasping her hands next to her cheek.

“Oil money won’t reach this far down. We’ll still be hungry,” she said.

Read entire AP article.

It’s a shame that these natural resources end up causing more corruption and non-meritocratic social inequality. The usurping of natural resources not only affects the poor, but also affects middle-class and working-class people, globally. A minority of corrupt politicians and their corporate cronies steal the natural resources from the people of the world. Then these tyrants use the gained power to neutralize dissent and pacify the victimized masses.

The situation in San Tome and Principe mere exemplifies this global problem.

“If you have come here to help me, then you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” –Lila Watson

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Published by Scott Hughes

I am the author of Achieve Your Dreams. I also published the book Holding Fire: Short Stories of Self-Destruction. I have two kids who I love so much. I just want to be a good role model for them. I hope what I do here makes them proud of me. Please let me know you think about the post by leaving a comment below!