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Last updated: 08 September, 2008 - Published 17:03 GMT
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Forum: Is the oil boom good news for Africa?

Nigerian children walk through a mangrove swamp that has been polluted by crude oil

Is the oil boom good for Africa?

Do you think that the wealth generated by today's boom will reach all sections of society?

Are oil profits being wisely invested by African governments?

Does your country benefit from increased oil revenues or are international oil corporations getting the lion's share?

Join the Focus Forum

To take part in the debate simply fill in the form on the right. A selection of your comments will appear below.

Fidelis Karsuk Daboer, Jos, Nigeria:

Oil in Africa is a mixed blessing. Wealth is achieved through it which is the positive aspect. The negative part is its uneven distribution among citizens and the breeding of inter and intra conflict in most parts of Africa, particularly the Niger Delta in Nigeria. Africans should place greater emphasis on agriculture, considering the world food shortage and the very large African population. Nigeria should adopt this strategy immediately

Iliyasu Roni Dabo, Kano, Nigeria:

I think that the oil boom in Africa is both a curse and a blessing depending on how you look at it

Danbauchi Ezra Saminu, Gombe, Nigeria:

A thief is always a thief; with or without oil, corruption will still be prevalent in the continent. As such, an oil boom is actually good news for Africa because it gives the thief enough to steal and leave a little for the masses

David Inyang, Ibadan, Nigeria:

I don't really think that the benefits of oil are gong to reach the masses because the governments are not only corrupt but they lack the accurate data for planning. The result is the imploding Niger Delta crisis in Nigeria and the zenophobic crisis in South Africa

 Most African countries benefitting from the boom always engage themselves in political battles due to the huge profits involved
Eric-Kenny Maduagwu

Eric-Kenny Maduagwu, Agulu, Nigeria:

The oil boom is actually good for Africa. But the question still remains, are Africans ripe enough and ready to rule themselves? Are they ready to subdue the international conspiracies undermining the development of Africa? Not just wining elections and answering presidents, but being able to manage the resources especially those tempting ones coming in from oil. Most African countries benefiting from the boom always engage themselves in political battles due to the huge profits involved. Definitely they are being invested, maybe wisely, but it is unfortunate that the crisis it generates and the international conspiracies involved don't allow those investments to yield the intended results. Until African leaders, especially those from my dear country Nigeria stop looking at the money they will loot and instead look at how to improve their country; the benefits from oil revenues will never reach all sectors of the society

 It is high time that the poor woke from their sleep and saw what is happening or else the boom will be a bomb
Samaila Peter

Samaila Peter, Yola, Nigeria:

I am sorry to say this but what is supposed to be a blessing (the oil boom) is now doomed. The revenue from the oil only reaches the few, (who is who) in the country (Nigeria). The government is expected to provide good roads, health care and facilities, education and other welfare amenities to its large population, but only a few enjoy it. The poor and the masses are left at the mercy of fate and hope, killing themselves and kidnapping innocent people, thinking they are heroes while the few rich enjoy security and other amenities at government reserve areas without any threat and concern for what is happening. It is high time that the poor woke from their sleep and saw what is happening or else the boom will be a bomb

Aniekan Ezekiel, Lagos, Nigeria:

The oil boom provides African oil-producing countries a one-in-a-development-cycle opportunity to generate much-needed funds to fast-track their economic development. Now is the time to draw up down-to-earth, bottom-up national development plans that will improve the lot of the common man on the street. Part of the revenue generated from the oil boom should be channelled towards implementing the plans. The rest of each should be used to plan for the future. It could be put in a sovereign fund for future generations

Clement Wie Tuureh, Abidjan, Ivory Coast:

I think the oil boom is great news for Africa as a continent because no matter how badly the benefits are distributed, there is always some amount of it that goes into the development of the producing country. It all depends on who is in power and how patriotic the person is. Ghana has just added its name to the oil producing countries and I am quite sure that with the right structures in place the profits will be wisely invested, as the interests of our nation have always been more important than any other thing

Carol Andeti, Mombasa, Kenya:

Oil boom is good news but the Americans are the one's causing all the conflict in the oil booming countries. They reap oil in exchange for weapons

 The common fact is that proceeds from such booms never reach the suffering masses
Jenkins Flahwor

Jenkins Flahwor, Yekepa, Liberia:

The oil boom is not good for Africa as a continent, but good for African leaders. The common fact is that proceeds from such booms never reach the suffering masses, instead they only increase the wealth of African leaders and their alies

J. Ellsworth DeShields, Lawrenceville, Georgia:

The laws in these African countries have to change from being government run and controlled, to the people. Governments of these countries make many excuses that the people, ordinary educated citizens and well doers are unable to manage and operate their own resources. I think these governments need to encourage and empower their people by putting the management of these resources into the private sector. Africa has a considerable number of technocrats who can collaborate with foreign investors, while these governments do the business of regulations, laws, and tax collections

Abdulsalam Inuwa, Taraba State, Nigeria:

It's pertinent and disheartening in the era of the so called oil boom that Nigerians are still besieged by abject poverty, insecurity, protracted power failure and civil unrest in the Niger-Delta region. The poor have nothing to show for the boom except the oppression and intimidation received from their so-called elected officials

Edward Bockarie Marveh, Manowa, Sierra Leone:

It may be good for Africa provided that African leaders remain true patriots and keep both their people and country at heart. Our African leaders are the problem

 The revenue from oil is being used to scare away or kill inhabitants of areas which have oil
Muhumuza Stuart

Muhumuza Stuart, Mbarara, Uganda:

Certainly it will not. It will go into the pockets of politicians. The revenue from oil is being used to scare away or kill inhabitants of areas which have oil. The presence of oil has re-ignited the scramble and partition of Africa

Emmanuel Amonoo, Chicago USA:

Why should the oil boom not be a blessing to any Africa country when the price of oil can rise by mere speculation.The amount of the national income of any country used for the importation of oil is enormous and has stressful consequences on the various sectors of the economy. It is therefore a great relief for any country to strike oil. However, the acompanying problems outweigh the joy. Corruption at high levels in the government, uncontrolled rural-urban migration, armed conflicts and environmental degradation bring regretable results. The poor never benefit. Oil boom in Africa is good news irrespective of its inherited problems

Runka Usman Dahiru, Nigeria:

In my opinion oil in Africa is not good because, despite huge amounts of money that African governments are getting, people are living in object poverty. Nigeria is an example

 Among the so-called natural resources, oil is the most evil of all
Suleiman Mbatiah

Suleiman Mbatiah, Nairobi, Kenya:

Among the so-called natural resources, oil is the most evil of all. Countries in Africa have fought endlessly to possess the oil fields, Sudan being a key example. It turns out to be a curse, rather than the blessing it's thought to be. Moreover, the proceedings from the oil goes to the Western nations who pay the locals peanuts for mining and exploration. Sanctions are metered out to the countries that are un-welcoming to the ill-motived Western countries. They are out to milk African countries as much as they can. Africa's political systems cannot let the benefits trickle to the local countrymen. Nevertheless, some countries have benefited from oil and it is the economy's backbone

 There is no proof anywhere that the life of individual Africans will ever improve based on this so-called oil boom
Frank Adarkwah-Yiadom

Frank Adarkwah-Yiadom, Darfur, Sudan:

We should not deceive ourselves with anything about the oil boom in Africa. There is no proof anywhere that the life of individual Africans will ever improve based on this so called oil boom. Besides oil, there are a lot of other natural resources that God has given to us Africans free of charge yet we are not benefitting from them. What has happened in Ghana with the gold Ghanaians have? What is happening in DRC with the level of gold they have? What has happened to Sierra Leone with the amount of diamonds they have? Are these minerals not equally good news like the so called oil boom? Even with this same oil we are talking about, what can we say about Nigeria and Sudan? Is it not the same oil boom? The problem we have in Africa is purely visionary leadership and nothing else. Africans lack the developmental vision and until that problem is addressed we will continue to sink down the well no matter the level of this oil boom we are talking about. We need to stop this greedy, corrupt self-interest in us. And we must also know that no institution or person outside Africa can redeem us, apart from ourselves

 The real challenge is that the wealth generated by this boom is not distributed equally
Johnson Riek

Johnson Riek, Yomthiang, Khartoum, Sudan:

Yes, as a matter of fact the oil boom is good news for African people but the real challenge is that the wealth generated by this boom is not distributed equally

May Opondo, Kampala, Uganda:

Will the oil boom benefit Ugandans? It is the politicians basically who benefit because I don't see how the poor can really gain apart from embracing the idea as it comes. But all the dividends from oil are pocketed by the elite

Shehu Haido, Abuja, Nigeria:

Well as a matter of fact the oil boom should be a blessing to Africa and Africans, but the kleptomaniac leaders made it a curse. In fact what Mrs Farida Waziri, the head of anti-crimes commission in Nigeria said was absolutely right. The political leaders in Africa and Nigeria in particular should undergo mental check ups in hospitals before contesting for office, because even a mad man cannot do what these leaders are doing. How on earth can somebody in his right mind steal billions of dollars meant for the betterment of all citizens. These so called leaders must be examined and re-examined again and again. They are stealing what even their tenth generation cannot finish. In short, the oil boom is a big curse to the common man in Africa, and a blessing to our corrupt, selfish and greedy leaders

 Welcoming an oil boom in Africa at this time is like welcoming another circle of violence
Garmai Boi Boi Robert

Garmai Boi Boi Robert, Monrovia, Paynseville, Liberia:

An oil boom would be good news for Africa if Africa had responsible nationalists, patriotic and pan-Africanist leaders like Madiba, Nkrumah, President Tolbert and many other great leaders of the past and present days. But welcoming an oil boom in Africa at this time is like welcoming another circle of violence and looking forward to another genocide on the African soil. I say no to the oil boom today and no to an oil boom tomorrow

Ahmad Galadima, Zamfara, Nigeria:

Well, oil exploration and production in Nigeria is a mixed blessing. The sector accounts for over 70 per cent of the country's export. However, the positive outcome of its production only benefits a few people (the President and his boys). We wish a better future for Nigeria

Tope Silver, Lagos, Nigeria:

Never, because people at the helm of affairs would never allow the wealth to generate, so that they only remain rich and use other poor citizens as tools to achieve their own selfish interests, as is seen in the delta crisis in Nigeria

 The oil boom in Africa is good news for the ailing economy of Africa if only used sustainably
Ladu Samson Ladu

Ladu Samson Ladu, Kaya, South Sudan:

The oil boom in Africa is good news for the ailing economy of Africa if only used sustainably and not used by some of our greedy African leaders to meet their own selfish interests, rather than for the interests of the common poor man in the street. President Gaddaffi deserves a pat on the back because the oil in his country is being used for development unlike in the Sudan where the oil dividends are used for the acquisition of artilleries, AK47s, BMs, RPGs, etc

Israel Ambe Ayongwa, Bamenda, Cameroon:

You might be surprised to know that it's just until recently that the national output in terms of oil revenues from our National Petroleum Refinery was being declared to Parliament and to the public. It used to be the private 'farm' of the privileged elite in the country. When statistics from this sector started to be released, the sad news we have been getting from the officials in charge is that, the crude oil we produce is too heavy and not attractive for export. So according to our officials, in spite of the fact that we have an abundance of the 'black gold', we are a celebrated importer of oil. Ask me whether there are any revenues from this sector and I will tell you your guess is as good as mine

 I thank God Kenya has no oil lest it travels the same road as other oil rich African countries
Nicholas Karani Njebi

Nicholas Karani Njebi, Meru, Kenya:

No, because the wealth of African economies is controlled by a cartel of politically correct, powerful and priviliged elite. No, because they go into financing bloated lfestyles of the ruling elite and their cronies and financing unnecessary wars. Kenya has no oil but the African countries I know of such as Sudan who have oil are fleeced to their deathbeds by international oil corporations. In fact I thank God Kenya has no oil lest it travels the same road as other oil rich African countries

W.E. Cooper, Washington, DC, USA:

The discovery of oil in any country should be viewed as a relief for its' citizenry and residents. In recent history, the leadership of respective African nations have failed their people, but we need to be courageous because this generation [not the next generation] will certainly overcome poor governance and the levels of mismanagement that have discouraged the progress of our people over the years. "Yes we can" -- in the words of Barack Obama

Anisa, Canada:

I think that the oil boom in Africa is both a curse and a blessing depending on how you look at it

Alieu K. Konneh, Monrovia, Liberia:

The oil boom is a blessing for the development of Africa and to alleviate extreme poverty, but due to mankind's intervention, the wealth generated from oil is used to finance conflict instead of development, which is bringing unnecessary suffering upon us all

Rowan, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe:

The oil boom is very bad news for Africa because African leaders are not politically mature enough to put the oil revenues generated into improving the lives of their people; instead the oil revenues go into their own pockets. I blame the US for this because they either cause the destabilisation in African countries or they encourage African leaders in their corruption

 Until the circle of corruption is broken, development in Africa will remain stagnant
Omorodion Osula

Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA:

The unfortunate thing is that the proceeds from this oil boom will end up in the foreign accounts of a few individuals in the government. Africa is blessed but the people are suffering in the midst of plenty. Until the circle of corruption is broken, development in Africa will remain stagnant

Gbenro Olajuyigbe, Nigeria:

In Nigeria, oil-related ecological complications have retrenched people from their livelihoods. Oil booms, yet the people are doomed and condemned to unmitigated poverty. Anger is flowing from hunger, yet we are seeking peace and development outside the reality of a nation berserk with advancing oil-kleptomaniac dynasty and whose people are often marooned by uncommon penury.

Unmitigated oil spillage and pollution, offensive gas flaring and general toxicity of the environment have engendered livelihood dislocation across the country and particularly in the Niger Delta. Without putting people before oil and making extractive law operational, our society will remain highly inflammable with her potentials for a climate of chaos and weather of war

La Salandra, Troia, Italy:

The wealth produced by oil will never benefit African society, because of the greed of the African leaders and exploitation by the oil-producers

Trocon Robert, New York, USA:

An oil boom is good for Africa if we elect the right leaders. I am not trying to be hard on African leaders, but if you have a group of people who just want to become leaders to steal from their countries and continent, I do not call those people leaders. They all have numerous bank accounts around the globe, while their nationals have nothing to live for. Where is their national proud?

 An oil boom would not benefit any peaceful Liberians
Helena Kokulo

Helena Kokulo, Monrovia, Liberia:

If I had the ability, I would stop oil operations in my country, Liberia, because I have not seen any positive things that oil has done in Africa. An oil boom would not benefit any peaceful Liberians, but will only benefit those that love violence, who are strong enough for battle and willing to die at any time. Oil is a demon, a curse and an embarrassment to states, especially African states

Bolu Aladeniyi, Ibadan, Nigeria:

The oil boom in all parts of the world has not brought anything but woes and trouble. It seem that oil is not meant to bring good to its people and it has brought wars in all the places where it has been found in Africa

 It really is a great curse to the inhabitants of the affected areas
Bankole Obadare

Bankole Obadare, Lagos, Nigeria:

It really is a great curse to the inhabitants of the affected areas, since they are the immediate victims, wallowing in untold hardship, since most of their land is not useful to the oil companies

Ayoubah Kafomba Kamara, Accra, Ghana:

The definition of oil is 'conflict'

 Is the oil boom good for Africa? I'm not sure sure ...
Amina Maikori

Amina Maikori, Abuja, Nigeria:

The oil boom has brought confusion to Africa because in my country, for instance, those at the helm of affairs seem to have forgotten that there are other sources of revenue allocation like agriculture, textiles, etc and are focused just on the oil. This does not help the economy in any way. The sad thing is that the average Nigerian does not enjoy the benefits of belonging to an oil producing country. They still feel the heavy impact of skyrocketing oil prices and still experience fuel shortages and long queues at the filling station. Is the oil boom good for Africa? I'm not so sure...

Ahmed Ali Yelwa, Abuja, Nigeria:

The oil boom will not enrich the masses of Africa because the profits go into the leaders pockets

Joseph Abu, Freetown, Sierra Leone:

Although the oil boom in Africa may seem to be good news to Africans, I am afraid that the majority of Africans will have very little to benefit from it. The answer is simple: our leaders in Africa are very greedy and will divert funds derived from the oil sales into their pockets instead of using it for the good of the man in the street

 The oil boom benefits the elite in Africa
Gofee Konneh

Gofee Konneh, Battery Factory, Monrovia, Liberia:

The oil boom benefits the elite class in Africa especially in goverment, leaving the vast majority languishing in poverty, withouout regard for their well being which is unacceptable and unjustifiable and has the propensity to bring conflict

Sena Nani, Ayanfuri, Ghana:

The oil boom in Africa could spell out two things- that is either peace or war. Of course, it will not breed peace when different sects will be at each others throats in their quest to secure treasures in the boom. The governments reponsible must give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and unto God what belongs unto God. When this is done the boom will be good for Africa

Jackson V. Morris Master V, Monrovia, Liberia:

Oil production makes Africa grow and develop. But on the other hand it raises tension among the people of Africa. Nevertheless oil still remains one of the necessities in the world at the moment

Ernest Aigbavbiere, Norrkoping, Sweden:

The oil revenue boom is good news for African governments, Nigerian politicians and the multinational oil companies. But the man in the street is left without the basic means of survival, is alienated, voiceless and powerless, thus creating a reactive response as in the case of the Niger Delta of Nigeria. As a way forward, the government should initiate a national programme of social welfare such as unemployment benefits, health and education insurance and pensions for the elderly ones in the society. I recommend the Swedish system for Nigeria, that starts with the national ID card system and accounting systems. In Nigeria even when budget surplus is declared, the objectives of the budget remain unachieved, such as providing basic infrastructural supplies. Power supply remains unstable and high levels of corruption remain a norm instead of exception. The people are left in poverty. That is the blessing from the oil boom in Nigeria

 Americans cause the oil problems
Emeka Boro

Emeka Boro, Abuja, Nigeria:

The oil boom is a blessing to Nigeria and Africa. Americans are the ones causing all these problems in Africa through oil. I want to tell everybody that Americans are always afraid of Nigeria as a country, as a nation and they are also afraid of losing world power to Nigeria. Oil is good, oil is wealth, oil is a blessing. Americans cause the oil problems. The government in Nigeria has invested locally and internationally through oil wealth

Yusuf Mohammed, Minna, Nigeria:

No, oil in Africa has been a big problem on the continent

 Africa must learn to support African enterprises at all costs
Todd Kidd

Todd Kidd, New Orleans, USA:

The oil boom is good for Africa if the monies are used to build up infrastructure, hospitals and schools and improve the economy. The monies must be used to decrease poverty and increase local ownership of the economy. Africa must learn to support African enterprises at all costs

Apana Adagzina, Accra, Ghana:

African oil revenues benefit only the political class and their foreign partners, leaving the environment heavily degraded

Mariama Pabai, Amogashine Junction, Monrovia, Liberia:

The oil boom is good for Africa because it helps to boost the economy but the issue of graft must be eliminated or the mass majority will continue to languish in poverty while the natural resources are used

Varlee Ali Conneh, Monrovia, Liberia:

Oil benefits should be mutualistic and a blessing for the people but due to high levels of graft, we are killing the innocent and the wrong people are consuming the oil benefits. It has become a curse

Stephen Tor, Gany, Juba, Sudan:

Oil in Africa has become a problem. There was a problem in my county here in Sudan about three weeks ago, when there were clashes in our oil-rich town of Abyei, between the SPLA and Sudan Armed Forces. This raises the tension between North and South Sudan. The same thing is happening in Nigeria and the other parts of the continent

Emeka Boro, Abuja, Nigeria:

Yes, I think the oil wealth generated by today's boom will reach all sections of society because the government in my country is very committed. They have the interest of the people at heart through the 7-point agenda. In Nigeria today it is not business as it used to be, there are a lot of changes in the government and the people. Today in Nigeria everybody is a stakeholder, so I see hope. On the second question, I want to say yes, because in Nigeria today there is rapid growth of development in every sector of the government. Let me say it here that the question of the lion's share should not be the issue. The government and the international corporations are working hand in hand and each of them has an interest

Jackson Mayik, Juba, Southern Sudan:

Oil benefits are not reaching the intended poor beneficiaries

 The meaning of oil is a curse
Winnie Senneh

Winnie Senneh, Monrovia, Liberia:

Having oil in any of our African nations is another means of welcoming violence, war and kidnapping in that region. For me, the meaning of oil is a curse. Discovery of oil in Liberia will not benefit the ordinary Liberians, but will only increase the accounts of government officials and their partners involved in the so-called deal-signing and this will cause the innocent people in that region to suffer because of their criminal acts. I would not consider living in any oil-rich area in Africa because I am afraid of violence and tensions

Mohammed Konneh, Gardnersville, Monrovia, Liberia:

Oil benefits in Africa are not reaching the vast majority of the down-trodden masses, due to high levels of corruption from African governments and the fight for natural resources

William Kokulo, Monrovia, Liberia:

If oil is discovered on Liberian soil I believe with the credible, accountable and responsible government now in power, the oil boom would be profitable and it can indeed benefit ordinary Liberians in that it would bring increases in government revenues and make a positive impact on the national budget. Oil has been a complete curse on some African nations, but Liberia will be a non-violent society with the discovery of oil. My fear is the strategic positions of the American and Chinese embassies. The location of these embassies on our coastal line makes me afraid that they would use modern equipment to drill our oil, for export to America and China, without concern for the Liberian government

Maseray Bangura, Freetown, Sierra Leone:

No, African governments are selfish and do not want Africa to grow

 There is no doubt that America would be given preference
Korpo Robert

Korpo Robert, Soul, Monrovia, Liberia:

In my candid opinion, I believe that the oil boom is good for African nations who respect the rule of law and act responsibly. I think that the Liberian government would be faced with the problem of conflict of interest regarding who should be given first preference to explore Liberia's crude oil if indeed it is confirmed it has. There is no doubt that America would be given preference, taking into consideration the historical ties that exit between the two countries. China, even though it is contributing a lot of effort to post war development, is an emerging partner of Liberia's and it would be superseded by America. And on to the question of whether ordinary Liberians would really benefit; I would say yes but to what extent, I don't know.

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