Tag extractive industry

Natural resources – a curse, a blessing, or a “preventable disease”

According to conventional wisdom, a rich endowment of natural resources represents a curse, not a blessing, as resources are said to do more harm than good. Findings show that the resource curse may be overstated in the case of Mozambique.

Firstly, natural resource dependence has been linked to increased incidence of civil war in places like Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the case of Mozambique, natural resources were not a factor in the civil war. A distinction can be drawn between resources that are “lootable” – those that can be exploited with out sophisticated technology – and those that require industrialized production. While there is artisanal production in Mozambique, the majority of the mineral wealth can only be exploited with industrial technology.

Taxes for good?

I spend a lot of time thinking about the revenues from the extractive industry and the wait predicted by some experts as to when the monies will actually be visible in the national treasury.  My concern is that children don’t have the luxury of waiting a decade or two for coal and natural gas revenues to flow in and out of the national coffers and eventually into the pockets of their parents – through decent employment, their teachers – through quality education and their community health clinic – through basic vaccines and other core services.  Children need their rights fulfilled now.  Children are stunted due to inadequate nutrition and care practices today and will not have the capacity to grow into the leaders of tomorrow if they are physically and cognitively compromised in their first two years of life.  Investing in social protection systems could make the difference to the most vulnerable and give them a fighting chance for their futures.