Resource governance dynamics: The challenge of ‘new oil’ in Uganda

Resource governance norms have evolved at multiple scales to counter the potential negative socio-economic, environmental and institutional impacts of the extractive industries. Advocates of these ‘good governance’ initiatives have sought to mainstream transparency throughout the extractive industries value chain and implement pro-poor projects at the site level. However, these types of resource governance interventions often fall short of their promised development benefits. Poorly understood is how the process of resource extraction and the expectation of supposed revenue windfalls affect the governance dynamics of host countries and localities. Using a qualitative and inductive approach this paper highlights emerging spaces of governance within a new petro-state, Uganda. The research findings highlight four significant governance gaps: lack of coherence among civil society organisations (CSOs); limited civil society access to communities and the deliberate centralisation of oil governance; industry-driven interaction at the local level; and weak local government capacity. The ad hoc and fragmented modes of resource governance in the oil bearing regions, particularly related to transparency and corporate social responsibility activities, do not bode well for this new petro-state’s development trajectory. By identifying how spaces of resource governance emerge in new resource contexts, more proactive and timely interventions can be designed and implemented by state and non-state actors.

Van Alstine J, Manyindo J, Smith L, Dixon J, AmanigaRuhanga I (2014)  Resources Policy40, pp.48-58.