Transparency in resource governance: the pitfalls and potential of “new oil” in Sub-Saharan Africa

An international agenda has evolved over the past decade to establish hard and soft rules to govern the impacts of the extractive industries. The international community and some resource-rich states have increasingly embraced norms such as transparency in resource governance. This paper explores how multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign have sought to institutionalize transparency in resource governance. By exploring how, why, and to what effect transparency in resource governance has taken hold in a new petro-economy such as Ghana, I highlight two key findings: the interaction between voluntary and mandatory governance mechanisms and rescaling of authority, and the multi-scalar dimensions of resource governance and subsequent lack of focus on sub-national issues. In concluding, I question the transformative potential of transparency in resource governance, which has significant global implications as the demand for energy and non-energy minerals continues to rise.

Van Alstine J (2014) , Global Environmental Politics14, pp.20-39.