An extremely detailed UN report on the violation of sanctions against Unita.
Final Report of the UN Panel of Experts on Violations of Security Council Sanctions Against Unita.
The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan established oil revenue sharing, but it has not delivered the expected transparency. In this report, Global Witness identifies why the numbers given by the government and oil companies do not match, and recommends an independent audit of the oil sector. The oil sharing agreement is a cornerstone for maintaining peace in Sudan, especially if South Sudan secedes. (Global Witness)
The Sudanese government has undermined the fragile peace process between North and South by keeping oil revenue information under wraps and subject to manipulation. Sudan's lack of oil revenue transparency is severely undermining the fragile peace process between north and south. The South is likely to feel cheated out of its revenue share if the government's figures on oil production seem dubious. There exist large discrepancies between the oil production data published by the government and those released by CNPC, the biggest oil company operating in the country. (Global Witness)
The executive summary of this policy paper by Oxfam
illustrates the dynamics of a vicious cycle of oil production, underdevelopment, and conflict. The paper calls for greater transparency on the part of the Angolan government and increased international involvement, in order to ensure that oil revenues are used for development instead of Angola's "economy of war and neglect."
implicates various European and Asian oil companies in human rights violations in Sudan. The report calls for the establishment of a Global Regulation Authority (GRA) to ensure the accountability of TNCs, but does not clarify which international body would oversee its operation.
A detailed report by Christian Aid, describing the role of foreign oil companies in escalating and sustaining the civil war in Sudan.
Link to Amnesty International's report detailing the background of the Sudanese conflict and illustrating the human rights violations that accompany the extraction of oil in the Sudan.
An in depth report by Essential Action and Global Exchange on how multinational corporations involvement in the Niger Delta is leading to environmental destruction, death and impunity.
As Uganda contemplates commercial production of its vast quantities of oil in the coming years, there is intense debate over how best to avoid the “resource curse” of its neighbors. The question is not one of knowledge; there is no shortage of literature covering resource management for Uganda to draw on. The problem lies in management challenges and governance. Sound legislation and Ugandan specific frameworks are futile unless corruption is curtailed and there is a transparent public involvement in the management of future resource revenue. The political concentration of power and lack of civil society involvement in politics may prevent effective oil and wealth management. However, there are broadly shared aspirations towards peaceful development, which may prompt the government to use the revenue for human development. (The Guardian)
The 29,000 square kilometer Lake Nyasa that borders Tanzania and Malawi has recently became a source of state conflict due to the discovery of its lucrative oil and gas resources. The governments of each state are fighting for the rights to begin extraction. Malawi claims sovereignty over the lake, while Tanzania claims to own half. The Tanzanian government has even threatened military action if local Malawian fishing boats continue to cross the waters. There is no border dispute among local populations. Both Tanzanian and Malawian locals have used the lake as a source of revenue and food for centuries without incident. To date there is no evidence that the local fishing communities understand this conflict or have been consulted on the future of the lake to which they are dependent on. The issues of resource extraction in Lake Nyasa echoes other regional conflicts when it comes to division of ownership, allocation of licenses, and who pays for capital investments. (IPS)
The discovery of vast oil reserves in Liberia has sparked consternation amongst the countries citizens. Well aware of the potential benefits to Liberia’s economy, many are nonetheless concerned that if these newly found resources are poorly managed the result could be conflict and political violence -as has been seen in neighboring Nigeria - or exploitation by foreign corporations in this new Scramble for Africa. However, Robtel Neajai Pailey argues that the discovery, which will surely have a significant impact on Liberia’s future, is also an opportunity for African NGOs and civil society groups to engage fully and critically with the often corrupt politics of oil. (AllAfrica)
This Guardian opinion pieces examines the reason for “nonexistent” outrage against the last month’s Royal Dutch Shell oil spill in Nigeria. Shell and its sister oil companies are rarely scrutinized or penalized (except in the most exceptional cases, like the BP oil disaster) for their ongoing exploitation and degradation of the environment. The lack of political will, media coverage, and international assistance demonstrates how the international community privileges large oil corporations at the expense of the environment and the Nigerian people. (Guardian)
After two years of relative stability since amnesty was offered to top militant leaders, the Movement to Emancipate the Niger Delta (MEND) is ramping up attacks on oil facilities. MEND hails from the oil-rich area of Nigeria’s largely Christian South. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group whose name translates to “Western education is a sin.” Frustrated with the government’s focus on the country’s Muslim northern half where Boko Haram operates, MEND and other militia commanders in the region are determined to make President Jonathan pay attention to the Delta’s unacceptable living conditions, poor infrastructure, and lack of jobs. These groups are poised to fight Boko Haram and wage war against the Nigerian government. (Christian Science Monitor)
As profit-making opportunities diminish in Iraq and Afghanistan, Western companies and security contractors have turned their focus toward Libya. Recognizing the potential for enormous revenues from a country with large infrastructure needs and the oil to finance them, entrepreneurs hope to cash in on Libyan gratitude toward the US and NATO. Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves, which could translate to a steady supply of cash and resources for the West. Eighty French companies met with the TNC one week before Gadaffi’s death, and the British defense minister has advised British corporations to “pack their suitcases” and go to Tripoli. This scramble to secure contracts for Libyan oil reinforces the perception that the intervention was motivated by the UK and France’s quest for access to these resources. (New York Times)
After being a leading cocoa exporter, Ghana has now become an important oil producer. Foreign companies are competing to exploit Ghana’s oil. The country’s economic situation has improved dramatically, but the revenues generated only benefit a small proportion of the population while the majority of Ghanaians are struggling for their survival. The oil industry is not a large-scale employer and requires certain levels of skills that most Ghanaians do not possess. Basic services such as school and infrastructure remain of poor quality. (Foreign Policy in Focus)
Fighting between the Sudanese army and rebels, mainly the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, have resumed and become more violent. The control of the rich oil-producing regions lies at the core of their dispute. This articles points out that the communities living on the South Sudan-Sudan border may face serious violence, unless the oil issue is resolved. The prospect of another war is rising as civilians are now highly militarized. (IPS)
Africa is home to important natural resources, in particular oil and minerals. But, the population does not really benefit from this wealth, which is exploited by foreign companies. In order to reverse this trend, African governments are developing policies to ensure that the exploitation of natural resources will benefit their citizens. “Local content” has become the new slogan in Africa, meaning that a certain percentage of the local population should be involved in the oil and gas industry. This is meant to create jobs and sustain economic growth. Though this concept has become popular in Africa, some experts fear that foreign companies will reject the emphasis put on local workforce. (The Christian Science Monitor)
The discovery of important oil reserves in Ghana’s Western Region has attracted many Ghanaians, hoping to receive a share of this newfound wealth. The government expects one billion dollars in oil revenue, which could boost the country’s economy. But so far oil has not delivered all its promises of prosperity. Unemployment remains high, the costs of living has increased and social discontent is rife. Children are the primary victims of this oil boom. Child labor and child prostitution have become scourges in Ghana as the government lacks sufficient financial resources to investigate and put an end to these abuses. (Inter Press Service)
Before the civil war, Libya was an important oil producer, exporting 1,3 million barrels of sweet crude oil a day. But the fighting has disrupted the chain of production and forced foreign companies to leave the country. As a result, the production level dropped to barely 60,000 barrels a day. As the rebels are gaining power, foreign companies are preparing for a future without Colonel Qaddafi as head of State. Firms are now trying to secure the most beneficial contracts for themselves and are already scrambling for Libya’s riches. (The New York Times)
Since 2005, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been targeting foreign oil companies and gas installations, disrupting production and raising energy prices. Oil constitutes their main cause of grievance as they ask for a better share of oil revenues, the control over Nigeria’s natural resources and financial compensations for environmental damage. In a country plagued by high poverty, unemployment and corruption, the cycle of violence and repression between the MEND, the government and oil companies threatens the stability of the Delta region. President Goodluck Jonathan has launched an amnesty program in 2009 in order to put an end to the endemic violence in the Niger Delta but this initiative failed to tackle the oil issue, which has become a curse for Nigeria. (ISN Insights)
In 2009, nearly $6 billion from oil revenues was illegally funneled out of the Angolan economy. Despite the end of civil tensions, the ruling elite still control the majority of the country’s assets and most Angolans don’t see profits from natural resources. (Reuters Africa)
Nigeria dropped the corruption charges against Dick Cheney after Halliburton reached a financial settlement with the Nigerian government. Halliburton paid $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials over the course of 10 years, while Cheney was CEO, to secure contracts for natural gas projects in the Niger Delta. Ultimately, the corporation chose to pay $250 million in fines to have the charges against Cheney dropped. Most likely, Halliburton acquiesced to the settlement in order to maintain US access to oil in the Niger delta. Reportedly, former US President George H. W. Bush and former US Secretary of State James A. Baker were involved in the settlement. (The Guardian)
The European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) has accused Swedish oil company Lundin Petroleum of being a complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan between 1997 and 2003. ECOS claims in a 100-page report that a contract for oil exploitation between a Lundin-led consortium and Khartoum set the wheels in motion for a vicious war in the south of Sudan. The report also charges that the companies' respective governments failed in their international obligations to prevent human rights violations and international crimes. (AFP)
The US military command base in Africa, AFRICOM, is controversially seeking US-legislation that would allow it to go beyond merely providing technical support in the DRC to actively engaging in armed conflict. US access to African oil supplies is the primary reason behind AFRICOM's creation. US government documents like "African Oil: a priority for US national security and African development" make this quite clear. (Pambazuka)
The lives of Niger Delta residents are at risk because of monumental contamination of their water and food resources; oil slicks are poisoning their drinking water and killing the fish they rely on for food. According to the UN, 6800 oil spills occurred in the region between 1976 and 2001 - and one drop is enough to ruin twenty-five litres of drinking water. Shell, Chevron and Agip all have operations in the Niger Delta. Whilst these companies make multi-million dollar profits, the thirty-million local residents live on less than a dollar a day. (Circle of Blue)
Africa currently supplies about twelve-percent of the world's oil, boasts significant untapped reserves and has surpassed the Middle East as the largest regional supplier of crude oil to the US. Chinese interest in African oil is rapidly increasing because, after the UNOCAL debacle of 2005, it realized the open-market is too risky a place to secure national resources. However, foreign oil interests in Africa often create or perpetuate corrupt governments, destroy the environment and support bad labor practices. India and South Korea are also now joining the African oil grab. (London School of Economics)
Sudan might be one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, but oil revenues rarely reach the people. Illicit capital flight, tax evasion and trade mispricing by multinational companies allow billions of dollars to be siphoned out of the country each year. Because of its pariah status, the Sudanese government has been particularly willing to receive under-the-table payments in exchange for granting foreign companies huge concessions and looking the other way. Meanwhile, foreign powers have taken an interest in oil-rich Sudan, shifting the region's conflict from the local to the global level. (Pambazuka)
The World-Bank financed Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline operated by Exxon is leaving a trail of poverty and conflict in its wake. Chadian President Idriss Déby has been using oil revenues to prolong his rule and wage a deadly war in the North and East of the country. Meanwhile, people in the oil producing zone have been either displaced with no compensation or forced to live precariously close to polluting oil wells. Because Chad's oil reserves are located meters away from its most fertile agricultural land, the pipeline is also responsible for the decline of the country's agricultural production. (AlterNet)
Years after the civil war ended, Angola remains a textbook example of the "resource curse" theory, with oil revenues accounting for up to 90% of export earnings and diamonds for the rest. Due to accounts located in tax havens, the profits of the secretive state-owned oil company Sonangol never reach the majority of the population. China and the US - the two biggest oil importers - are vying for control of an ever-bigger share of Angolan oil, all the while pretending that they are not dealing with a human-rights abusing government that exploits public resources on the pretext of development. (Foreign Policy in Focus)
The oil-rich Niger Delta region has suffered from environmental degradation and social unrest as a result of transnational corporations' activities. Because of the importance of the oil industry, the Nigerian government has been unwilling to meet its obligation to respect and protect the local population's rights. In the absence of recourse in local courts, Nigerians have resorted to the Alien Tort Claim Act, which provides a framework for foreign nationals to institute law suits in the US. This, however, should not eclipse the need to establish an international legal regime addressing the nature of corporations as actors in the human rights field. (huhuonline.com)
Dozens of leading French politicians, business figures and artists have been found guilty of fueling one of Africa's deadliest wars through the illegal sale of weapons to the Angolan government. During the Angolan civil war in the 90s, two businessmen sold Russian arms and landmines to President dos Santos with the complicity of bribed French establishment figures. In the course of the "Angolagate" trial, the two French presidents serving at the time of the events - Francois Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac - were accused of having turned a blind eye to the trade, which strengthened France's ties with oil-rich Angola. (The Times)
The United Nations Development Index ranks Chad the fifth poorest country in the world: 80% of its citizens live below the poverty line. Yet Chad's oil reserves amount to 1 billion barrels. Chad's rich resource potential has not gone unnoticed - in 2000 the World Bank began supporting the development of Chad's oil industry - building pipelines and developing transport infrastructure and technology. Nine years later, despite increased revenue, the country remains unable to feed its people. This article suggests that for Chad, under a corrupt and unjust government, oil had been a curse, and not a blessing. Chadians need a structure free from corruption in order to benefit from the oil revenue. (openDemocracy)
West Africa is becoming one of the world's hottest energy zones. The United States is expected to be importing around one-fifth of its oil from the region by 2025. "Africom," the US military command for Africa - presented by Washington as an effort to promote a humanitarian and democratic agenda - is part of US efforts to gain control of African oil resources in competition with China and Russia. This is contributing to the militarization of strategic oil reserves on the continent. (UPI)
This in-depth report by Global Witness
warns of the potential resurgence of the conflict between Northern and Southern Sudan over oil resources. In 2005, a peace agreement ended 22 years of war with the promise that Sudan's oil revenues would be divided up between north and south. But the Southern government does not trust the figures published by Khartoum on its earnings from the oil industry. A return to the conflict is likely if the revenues from oil are not more transparent.
The exploitation of oil in the Niger-Delta has resulted in environmental pollution, endemic corruption and social tension. The oil companies' failure to redistribute their profits and lift the local population out of poverty has created resentment among local youths, who have taken to sabotaging the oil pipelines to express their discontent. The struggle for the control of the delta's riches is feeding a vicious cycle of violence involving the state, multinational companies and organized crime groups. (In-Spire
Countries are often selective in criticizing non-democratic regimes, especially when these countries are oil rich or partners in the 'war on terrorism'. Rich countries often criticize Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe, who governs the oil poor country with an iron fist. However, governments from industrial countries do not condemn the human rights abuses of Angola's autocratic leader Eduardo dos Santos, allegedly because of the country's oil wealth. (Guardian)
At the G8 summit in July 2007, Nigerian president Umaru Yar'Adua suggested that countries should treat stolen oil similar to stolen diamonds. According to Yar'Adua, the trading of "blood oil" causes corruption and violence in the Niger Delta. Militant groups say that international and Nigerian oil companies dominate the oil industry to reap a large profit for themselves. The author recommends creating an 'oil equivalent' of the Kimberly Process, which attempts to tackle the illicit diamond trade. (ISN Security Watch)
Foreign companies' scramble for "black gold" has left the Niger Delta in ruins. This Independent article argues that Western oil companies like Shell keep oil revenues to themselves instead of investing locally, leaving millions of Nigerians to starve. Militias like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta are waging a daily war against the oil companies to gain control of the oil and give it to the Nigerian people. But, their actions have yet to have a positive effect on the lives of the Delta's poorest people, who now live in a state of constant violence.
In 2003, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and opposition militia groups signed a UN-brokered peace deal allowing the Ituri province limited autonomy with increased revenues from the area's rich natural resources. However, the government has reneged on the deal, by signing a secret concession with transnational corporations to drill for oil near Lake Albert. As a result, militia groups are rearming against government forces and using child soldiers to transport timber resources to neighboring countries. (International Crisis Group)
Oil drives conflict in Sudan, according to Fatal Transactions. The report notes that the Sudanese government undermines a peace-deal signed in 2005 between the North and South of the country by failing to move troops from oil producing areas in the South, and refusing to demarcate a border between the North and South that would evenly distribution oil fields. The author argues that state-owned oil companies from China, Malaysia and India perpetuate the conflict by providing the Sudanese government with military and financial support in exchange for drilling rights.
The Sudanese government attempts to manipulate a national census and maintain control of the country's rich oil reserves, says Inter Press Service. The census is part of a UN backed Comprehensive Peace Agreement leading to the equitable sharing of oil resources between the North and South, based on population distribution. The author notes that by preventing the return of refugees to the South, the government believes it may control a larger percentage of oil revenues.
Unequal distribution of oil revenues as well as a lack of democratic reform by President Idriss Deby leads to armed opposition against the Chadian government says Real Instituto Elcano. In response to this opposition, multinational oil corporations Chevron and Petronas provide the Chadian government with funding to buy military weapons. The author recommends that rather than a military solution, the UN should persuade Idriss Deby to open power-sharing talks with opposition groups, and share oil resources equally.
Nigeria has been facing security instability and politically-sponsored attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. The rebel group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has complained of the lack of attention from the government. In this report, the International Crisis Group addresses the root causes of the oil-driven conflict and proposes steps to help the region avoid more chaos.
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir stated that, according to the 1905 British border delimitation, the oil rich Abyei region belongs to Sudan's northern region of Kordofan. But the Southern People's Revolutionary Movement (SPLM) claims it constitutes part of the south. Even after the end of the civil war, tensions still remain as Sudan's government, Kartoum, and the rebel movement SPLM dispute the Abyei region. (Reuters)
European and US companies benefit from the misuse of Congo's natural resources and support the illegal arms trade. A 2003 UN Security Council Panel "largely documented the nexus of economic exploitation, arms trafficking, and armed conflict, stating that illegal exploitation remains one of the main sources of funding groups involved in perpetuating conflict." This article states that local conflicts become regionalized when foreign countries intervene. The author is concerned that without an effective and honest government, resource-driven conflicts will continue. (Fahamu - Oxford)
In spite of the MONUC peacekeeping presence in Congo, the undefined border between Uganda and Congo has created tension, resulting in a lack of trust and conflict between the two countries. To add to the existing tension, Uganda discovered rich oil reserves in the region of Lake Albert, resulting in the deployment of troops from both sides. The two governments ask for international assistance to determine who has the right to explore the oil and to help delimit the lake territory, preventing another war. (Environment News Service)
Chad's situation is similar to Darfur. These oil-rich countries both suffer from corrupt politics, rebel insurgencies and intense international interest. Oil production in Chad started in 2003 under a consortium of transnational companies including Exxon, Shell and Chevron, with the support of the World Bank. This partnership was supposed to construct a pipeline to the Atlantic Ocean and invest part of the income in a fund for social and educational purposes. Instead, corruption and external interventions have caused a humanitarian crisis in Chad. (openDemocracy)
Since oil multinationals discovered Sudanese oil in the 1970s, they have perpetuated Khartoum's repressive policies, including the North-South and Darfur conflicts. This Third World Quarterly article attributes decades of multinational corporation (MNC) policy in Sudan not only to the corporations themselves, but especially to their home governments'. These include home countries and companies such as the EU (Lundin), Canada (Talisman), the United States (Chevron), and more recently China (China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)) and India (Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC) of India). Similar relationships between home governments, oil multinationals and host governments exacerbate conflict in other oil-rich countries.
Although many African countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea enjoyed great revenue increase in the 1990s from the petroleum industry, the oil money benefited the countries' leaders and not the people who still remain in poverty. This Gulf Times' article says that while the responsibility of managing oil resources lies with governments, others should do their part, including foreign oil companies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the US and other governments by demanding transparency from African governments.
This Global Research article discusses the concept of humanitarian intervention and the different actors involved – as well as their associated motivations – in pushing for intervention. In the case of Darfur, the author argues that a complex web including corporations, nongovernmental organizations and Western media outlets are all complicit in pushing governments to act to "save" the victims of the crisis. However, the article maintains that the motivation behind such intervention ultimately comes down to access and control of natural resources.
As conflict continues on the border between Chad and Sudan, this TomPaine article investigates the World Bank's involvement through its finance driven policies. By agreeing to let Chad use its oil revenue for "administration" and "security" as opposed to socio-economic development as previously agreed, the World Bank gives the Chad government free rein to spend oil money on weapons.
Thanks to oil exports and Asian foreign investments, Khartoum enjoys a new economic prosperity. Yet, the one million square mile country draws much more attention from the conflict currently occurring in Darfur. This New York Times piece points out that western trade embargo on Sudanese exports resulting from Sudan's human rights record in the 90s lacked effectiveness as Sudan's Asian and Middle Eastern trading partners secure Khartoum with an important source of wealth.
This World Politics Watch article warns that oil and ethnicity clashes may threaten another surge in the Sudanese conflict. "Unequal distribution of oil revenues, bungled oil contracts, and differences in ethnic power sharing" create new grounds for conflict in the already divided country. The government of south Sudan, in particular, accuses Khartoum of not channeling oil revenue to the regional communities and blames foreign companies of exploring illegitimately oil resources, further increasing tensions among Sudanese factions.
Many experts accuse veto-wielding China of blocking Security Council action against the Khartoum government to protect Beijing's oil investments in Sudan. This article points out that the US, France, and UK also have oil interests in Sudan, especially in Darfur's untapped oil reserves, which represent a vast amount of potential wealth at a time when the price of crude oil has skyrocketed. The author questions the "imperialists'" motives for pushing to replace the African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur with 20,000 UN troops. (Workers World)
The US is intensifying its military presence in the Niger Delta in an attempt to grab hold of new oil fields that are not in the "troublesome" Persian Gulf region. According to a Nigerian NGO leader, "there is clearly an increase in US weapons in the hands of the Nigerian army and navy." Many in the Niger Delta worry that increased US military presence will heighten tensions and lead to more violent conflict. (AlterNet)
China has won a new ally in its quest for oil: Sudan. Chinese firms are intensively investing in the oil-rich country. This business alliance is expected to bring Sudan more than $1 billion in oil revenues in 2005. But human rights campaigners warn that this Chinese oil bid undermines efforts to hold Khartoum accountable for its terrible rights record in Darfur. (Guardian)
The US and China, the world's first and second largest energy consuming countries respectively, are increasingly competing to secure energy resources in Africa. This Power and Interest News Report maintains that this rivalry could not only exacerbate the already shaky Sino-US relationship, but could also heighten instability in conflict-prone Africa.
Conflicts in oil producing Africa are causing great concern in Washington. Nigeria, which produces 10 percent of the oil consumed in the United States, presents the greatest potential to wreak havoc on global oil markets. According to Aryakwee Nsirimovu, Executive Director of the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, tensions are mounting between the oil-rich southeastern tribes, the oil companies, and the Nigerian federal government. "If things blow up, they will be incredibly difficult to control." (Boston Globe)
"Often, oil money is a driving force in pushing long-standing political rivalries to the boiling point." In the oil-rich Kalabari region in Nigeria, militias have fought and killed thousands of people since 1995 over the royalties the oil producer Shell gives to local rulers. The case of Nigeria, the world's seventh-biggest oil producer, illustrates how oil can be a curse in Africa. According to a Catholic Relief Services report, "oil industry growth in repressive, corrupt and poor countries too often results in more repression and corruption." (Associated Press)
Can the discovery of oil in southern Chad provide its nearly ten million citizens with a decent future after decades of civil war, injustice, and upheaval? The author of this National Geographic article hopes that the tripod that controls Chad's oil industry- the oil companies, the government and the World Bank- will honor the principle of using oil revenue to eliminate poverty. But according to Chad's Oil Minister Youssouf Abassalah, the oil benefits are coming through very slowly. "What reaches the Chadian state is really minimal compared with the people's expectations."
The discovery of "abundant" oil-fields in Darfur suggests that the Sudanese government engages in the ongoing conflict in a self-serving ploy to gain control of the oil-rich land. However, some critics argue more optimistically that the potential oil profits may "speed up peace talks" between the rebel groups and Khartoum. Commentators explain Washington's serious push for peace in Darfur and the lack of stronger Security Council sanctions by economic interests sparked by the oil finding. (AlertNet)
British millionaire Friedhelm Eronat's "purchase of oil rights" in Darfur illustrates that "the scramble for Africa" continues: Britain "is serving as a base for questionable transactions" and speculations soar that Mr Eronat may also be acting for China. Meanwhile, human rights activists express outrage that wealthy corporations pay the Sudanese military regime: as a representative of the Darfur rebels indicates, the oil exploration fuels the conflict by financing "the ruling elite." (Guardian)
US oil firm ChevronTexaco has found that its Nigerian aid program has increased ethnic tensions in the Niger Delta region and that its cash aid has indirectly led to violent conflict. Instead of handing out money at village level, the company intends to devise specific projects for locals. Nigerian protesters say ChevronTexaco has failed to bring jobs to the region, and that the company's aid program has encouraged corruption and conflicts among communities. (BBC)
Human Rights Watch (HRW) urges the oil industry to maintain transparency in its financial assistance to local communities in the Niger Delta, so that funds do not end up in the hands of armed groups fueling violence in the region. In 2003 and 2004, local leaders recruited unemployed youths to wage war in an attempt to seize oil revenues and government funds. In its February 2005 regional report, HRW calls on the Nigerian government to "pursue a comprehensive strategy to tackle theft of oil and stop the flow of small arms into the Niger Delta."
The Equatorial Guinea coup plot raises some uncomfortable questions for the UK and US governments. This article points to US and UK strategic oil interests, saying the two countries may have condoned regime change because they were embarrassed over President Obiang's human rights record or because Obiang sought to renegotiate oil contracts to gain a bigger share for his country. Media have largely focused attention on UK involvement, but this article looks at Washington's possible role in the putsch. (Pambazuka)
Violent clashes in Ndolou, Gabon, Africa's fourth-largest oil producer, between military police and local protesters caused Canadian oil company Panafrican Energy to temporarily shut down operations there. Locals demanded a fair share of oil riches, expressing anger over the vastly unequal division of the country's wealth. Oil companies say although they have tried to meet local demands, at some point the government must take responsibility for the people's needs. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)
Both British intelligence and the US Pentagon received two separate reports in December 2003 and January 2004 warning of an impending March 2004 coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea. Neither government warned President Teodoro Obiang Ngema of the putsch, possibly violating international law. Equatorial Guinea is Africa's third-largest oil producer, and Alex Yearsley of Global Witness says the intrigue has "all the hallmarks of resource colonialism, with major powers desperate to get a stranglehold of the area's strategic resources." (Observer)
The Amnesty International report "Nigeria: Are Human Rights in the Pipeline?" examines how oil-related transnational corporations (TNCs) and the Nigerian government seriously violate the human rights of individuals and communities through their actions. In addition, the document examines how some TNC corporate social responsibility projects such as schools and roads have fueled severe local conflicts over resources.
The British government knew about the coup plot in Equatorial Guinea at least five weeks before President Obiang's government arrested mercenaries in March 2004 for planning the coup. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has accused the UK, US and Spain of plotting the coup to gain control of the country's oil wealth. Equatorial Guinea is Africa's third-largest oil producer. (Observer)
Nigeria is set on implementing IMF-endorsed reforms that would eliminate gas subsidies, causing higher gas prices that opponents argue would "benefit marketers and government coffers while devastating most other sectors," including the country's poor. The government has reacted to criticism by silencing opposition instead of operating transparently and observers fear more people will resort to violence as the country's democratic institutions fail them. (YaleGlobal)
Supporters of rebel leader Dokubu-Asari have hailed him as a "freedom fighter" after he threatened to wage war against the government and multinational oil companies to gain oil wealth for the Niger Delta population. Detractors, however, claim he is nothing but an opportunist armed by the "very government he now opposes." Dokubu-Asari reached a shaky disarmament agreement with Abuja in early October 2004, but some say violence will erupt again as "that is the only language that the Nigerian government understands." (Inter Press Service)
The conflict in the Niger Delta region between local militias, the government, and transnational companies is yet another example of natural resources fueling conflict in Africa. The conflict highlights "widespread theft and mismanagement" corrupt governments, and cynical behavior by Western policymakers and multinationals" that afflict many resource-rich African nations. (Christian Science Monitor)
The rebel group Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force has declared it will begin an armed insurgency in the southern Niger Delta for the right to Ijaw self-determination and to gain control of the region's oil riches. The rebels accuse multinational oil companies of providing the government with equipment to aid in bombardment of rebel camps and have advised foreign embassies to withdraw their nationals from the region. The Nigerian government dismisses the rebel groups as gangsters. (Associated Press)
Shell shut down its Ogoni operation in Nigeria in 1993 due to protests over pollution and the failure of oil wealth to benefit the local people. Now Shell does not want to do maintenance on pipelines in the region for fear of violence and has stationed the Nigerian mobile police, nicknamed "kill and go," around its facilities. The local community is angered over police brutality and poor clean-up efforts. (This Day)
Rival gangs are engaged in turf wars over oil theft operations in Nigeria's oil center Port Harcourt. Many fear Port Harcourt will turn out like the Western town of Warri where violence has severely hindered oil operations. One industry analyst notes that the government should address poverty and unemployment issues that are leading to increasing dissatisfaction amongst local groups in order to control the violence. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)
France and the United States have engaged in a growing competition for favors in oil- rich North and West Africa. Both Paris and Washington are supporting African military dictators while seeking access to their natural resources. According to many analysts, "over the next five years a quarter of non-Gulf oil on the world market will come from sub-Saharan Africa." (Inter Press Service)
Oil in the Niger Delta has led to "environmental devastation, economic poverty, and constant conflict" in the region. The government and multinational oil corporations reap all the benefits while minorities in the region face poverty, intertribal warfare and arms proliferation. (Pambazuka News)
According to the East African Standard, the United States' involvement in Darfur is not the result of a "newfound whim of philanthropy in Washington." Rather, the United States is pursuing a crucial strategic interest in Sudan--access to African oil. A potential pipeline, supplying Chad with "blood oil" from Southern Sudan," could pass through Darfur itself.
Oil giant Shell admits to helping fuel conflict and corruption in Nigeria by the way company officials "award contracts, gain access to land, and deal with community representatives." (BBC)
This article argues that the US has used increasing military involvement and cooperation with oil-rich countries across Africa to combat "terrorism" as a pretext to fulfill its desire to explore the continent's oil resources. (Asia Times)
A lucrative oil and pipeline project in Chad has renewed concerns about the corruption and human rights problems in the country. The authors urge the World Bank, a project partner, to set up a monitoring committee to ensure that the Chadian government uses oil revenues to improve the well-being of its people, and make public all information on any new oil exploration efforts. (Washington Post)