When a poor country (or even Brazil) discovers oil, economists shiver. The resource curse is alive and well. But there is always this glimmer of hope that resources will make a country rich (diamonds in Botswana, oil in Norway). Our school is organizing a lecture on the topic. Oil: A chance for Africa will take place tomorrow at AJF at 6.30PM. It brings together a western academic, an African civil servant and an oil company spokesperson.
OK I don't expect much out of it. We already know the importance of transparency and strong institutions in making a blessing out of resources. But this is why it might be interesting. Ghana, Africa's new hope, has discovered oil and has invited the Norwegians to help them manage their revenues. Will it work or wreck the country?
And there is another good reason to attend. I heard Shell is a great employer for economists (the undercover economist worked there). That would be a challenging, international, non-bullshit job.