Oil rents, policy and social development: Lessons from the Ghana controversy

Type Working Paper - United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) Research Paper
Title Oil rents, policy and social development: Lessons from the Ghana controversy
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://www.unrisd.org/80256B3C005BCCF9/(httpAuxPages)/BF2E4268C7A52AE3C1257E4B005771A8/$file/Obeng-O​doom.pdf
This paper shows that the Ghanaian state expends its resources on four priority areas:
loan financing, agricultural modernization, capacity building, and road construction and
maintenance. It argues that the emphasis on “roads for prosperity” reflects a strong
commitment to economic growth not as an end in itself but as a strategy to achieve
broader social development goals. While this expenditure pattern is broadly consistent
with institutional processes in the country and is largely transparent, the expenditure of
oil rents has negated or made only modest contributions to socioeconomic development.
This paper shows that channelling oil rents into an alternative holistic social energy
programme will drive sustainable social change through energy security and sovereignty,
the creation of green jobs, and the reduction of dramatic levels of actual and perceived
income, wealth and gendered inequalities in the country in a way that will make this
social change both desirable and feasible.
Franklin Obeng-Odoom is a Senior Lecturer in Property Economics at the School of
Built Environment, University of Technology Sydney. He was also Research Fellow at

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