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Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African Oilby Nicholas Shaxson
Synopses & Reviews
African oil and gas are increasingly in demand because of technological advances, rising commodity prices, and an extreme global thirst for energy. Countries like Niger, Uganda, Chad, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania are looking at the prospect of previously unimaginable flows of money into their national budgets.
The story of African oil, however, is historically associated with disaster. Today, older producers, such as Angola, Nigeria, and Cameroon, have little to show for the many billions of dollars they’ve earned. Oil money has been shown to fuel conflict and corruption in these areas, creating a so-called “resource curse.” In Africa’s New Oil, former BBC correspondent Celeste Hicks uses original testimony from people working in the oil industries and the communities that surround them to question the inevitability of such an outcome and reveal what the discovery of oil means for ordinary African citizens.
This revealing and insightful book is a much-needed account of an issue likely to transform the fortunes and futures of several African countries—for better or for worse.
Each week the oil and gas fields of sub-Saharan Africa produce well over a billion dollars worth of oil, an amount that far exceeds development aid to the entire African continent. Yet the rising tide of oil money is not promoting stability and development, but is instead causing violence, poverty, and stagnation. It is also generating vast corruption that reaches deep into American and European economies. In Poisoned Wells, Nicholas Shaxson exposes the root causes of this paradox of poverty from plenty, and explores the mechanisms by which oil causes grave instabilities and corruption around the globe. Shaxson is the only journalist who has had access to the key players in African oil, and is willing to make the connections between the problems of the developing world and the involvement of leading global corporations and governments.
About the Author
Nicholas Shaxson is a journalist who writes regularly for the Financial Times, The Economist, African Energy, and the insider newsletter Africa Confidential. He is an associate fellow with the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London, and a world authority on the politics and economics of the oil-producing nations of the Gulf of Guinea. He has been covering the African oil trade for the last fifteen years.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Paradox of Plenty in the New Gulf * Fela Kuti: How Things Fell Apart in the Oil Boom * Pedro Motú: A Morph to Another World * Abel Abraão: Wielding the Oil Weapon * Omar Bongo: Taking the Red Pill * Eva Joly: Elf Africaine and the Rabbit Warren * André Milongo: Golden Eggs * Obiang Nguema: What Caring Neighbors Do * Fradique de Menezes: Battening Down the Hatches * Arcadi Gaydamak: Between Global Borders * Dokubo-Asari: Corroding the Soul of a Nation * Global Witness: Hooligans and Rock Stars * Conclusion: Drawing the Poison
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