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Will Ghana's petrol dollars make a difference?

AfricaHYS Team | 18:41 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

On Wednesday Ghana officially joined the club of petroleum producing countries when President John
Atta Mills turns on the taps at the new drilling plant in Takoradi. 


Ghanaians hope that this new wealth will improve their standard of living and enhance the provision of essential services such as health care, schools, water and electricity.

The World Bank estimates that Ghana has reserves of 800 million barrels and potential for up to one billion more.

Economies such as Malaysia and Brazil have managed to use their resources to improve the quality of life for its citizens. Can Ghana do the same? 

Please send your questions, concerns or suggestions on the new oil and we will put them to senior government member.  

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 15 December at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.



  • Comment number 1.

    Natural resources are special economic goods and as a consequence, natural resources will yield economic profits—rents—if properly managed. These rents can be an important source of development finance, and countries like Botswana and Malaysia have successfully used natural resources in this way. There are no sustainable oil mines, but there are sustainable oil mining countries. Behind this statement is an assumption that it is possible to transform one form of wealth oil in the ground into other forms of wealth such as buildings, machines, and human capital.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Personally, i believe that this should be very strategic and it shouldn't be geared towards the short term.I really hope the Western region is really going to be a rich region this time round since they have been deprived from development for long and the promises that the politicians make will really be materialised this time because we have oil.

  • Comment number 4.

    Naturally, I wish Ghana well, but something tells me we should be very worried indeed, because if the experiences in other resource-rich African countries (from Angola to Congo to Nigeria) are any guide, they've just discovered the necessary ingredient for their own destruction. My only reason for hope lies in something I'd call "the Ghanaian spirit" - that dogged, purposeful, single-minded determination to succeed regardless of the odds. Let's pray the latter prevails, for the sake of the "ordinary" longsuffering Ghanaian.

  • Comment number 5.

    The new Oil wealth will encourage The Government to be non dependency on the bureaucratic Donor Aid. Spending the new wealth on Health care and schools is not sustainably and the Government should invest the money in areas that will empower people to take personal and responsible decisions for themselves.
    Countries like Zambia with Per Capita GDPS of $1165 spend 15% of their National budget on health care while Ghana with Per Capita GDPs $1600 spend less than 8.5% of the national budget. This re- politicises the process by which a country’s wealth is translated into the well-being of its Citizens.
    A country commitment to its people is not necessarily a function of its economic wealth, but rather a function of its determination to allocate the best resources it has at its disposal for the benefit of first and foremost, it’s Citizens.

  • Comment number 6.

    we should know that Ghana has a long extractive industry a mining industry besides cocoa, one of our major industry was gold and it was the main reason why Ghana use to be called Gold coast. We have to keep in mind that has not transformed our lives dramatically.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Thanks God for Ghana this is the time for Ghanaian who are out of jobs to start getting ready for the oil market. The same oil business will soon be starting in Liberia and Liberian are getting set for that and this alone will bring a great change to West Africa Economic and development in all sector of Life and living condition.

  • Comment number 9.

    Tahnk god that God has lllowed this to happen today in ghana. Ghana will show Nigeria Equatorial Guinea and Angola how to prudently manage oil resources to emanicipate all its citzens from abject poverty and economic inequality. Ghana is always a good example for many african countries, it is democratic and has a good leader prof john evan atta mills.the only fear i have for this project is its devastating effects on the environment around it.

  • Comment number 10.

    Given the polity of Ghana, the recent developments, the embrace of a corruption-free nation, one would say that the discovery of oil will enhance the lives of its citizenry after all, in nigeria over 80% of the country's revenue is derived from oil. But then I think, this will cause more harm than good to the nation and its citizens, the emphasis on oil may lead to sidelining some sectors like agriculture, construction, textile and clothing, etc. We all know how much oil pays, and this could lead to greed as corrupt politicians who want to take part in this oil boom will engage in heinous acts for their personal and self aggrandisement. Look at Nigeria for instance, it was a country where law and order regined, it was quite peaceful, the dividends of the government were evenly distributed to all the states. But what happened during and after the oil boom? We saw chaos, anarchy and restiveness in the Niger Delta, uneven distribution of the national wealth as the niger delta which owns the oil is only given 13% of all that oil yields, sectors such as education, Agriculture, power, textiles and clothings have been remembered little if not totally forgotten and yet we are proud of the oil we have. This is not what we drramt of, in the 70's and 80's, Nigeria used to have pyramids of groundnut and was a huge exporter of cocoa, now the country has placed all of its focus on the oil sector, and the agriculture sector is perishing. So oil been found in Ghana to me is more of a curse than blessing because very soon you'll see it in the news as chaos and uneven distribution of wealth will be the order of the day. You would wonder if oil was more of a curse than a blessing

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    If the will avoid over exposure to materialism , start building secondary and tatiary industries toward puting a stop to exporting their other raw materials unproccessed. Nigeria is a good example for Ghana to decide whether to succeed of fail . Avoid praise singing for serving and retired government funtionaries who turned millionaire and billionaires and instead confirm them Thieves .

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    It is too early to state if Ghana's Petrol Dollar will make any difference or not. The black gold has just began flowing and the law makers are still struggling to come up with oil laws to govern the sector.
    Since the discovery of oil Ghana the government and people of Ghana have done a lot to ensure transparency in the oil sector and has solicited the advise of successful oil producing countries to get it right. We can only hope that in our stable democratic environment and accountability, Ghana will derive the maximum out of this new sector. Ghana has always championed the cause of freedom and justice in the ECOWAS Zone and Africa in general hence I am with hope Ghana and Ghanaians will once again show the way to transforming our blessed Continent.

    Today also marks a new beginning for Ghana and Africa as longs as natural resources are concern and the lessons learnt will affect the whole of Africa positively or other wise based on the future assessment of Ghana's litmus test.
    Political and Economic intemidation from the West might also play a role in determining the kind of difference the oil dollar makes in Ghana and Africa as a whole. Before the flow of oil at the Jubilee Fields we witnessed a familiar saga played in the Western world when the Ghanaian Government blocked Exxon Mobil from aquiring the $4 billion share of one of jubilee's partners.

  • Comment number 15.

    Ghana's discovery and now production of commercial crude oil, should certainly benefit all her citizens and the country as a whole. Unlike her neighbor and bigger cousin - Nigeria where oil was initially a blessing, but as since became a curse. Thanks to sefish leaders, their cronies and wide-spread corruption.
    Ghana had more than four decades to learn from Nigeria's mistakes. Ghana must not neglect other sectors of their economy now that it has discovered oil.
    A smalller country with only 24 million in population,which is only a fraction Nigeria's 150 plus million population, Ghana will have more than enough to go around for all her citizens. I wish Ghana all the best.

  • Comment number 16.

    There is an Akan proverb that uses sleep as an analogy to explain death. To predict the benfits Ghana will get out from the oil, one must critically analyse how much we have benefited from the gold, diamond and bauxite since 1844.

  • Comment number 17.

    I would like to congratulate Ghana on the latest episode in its history as a nation as they pump their first barrel from the Jubilee field and by definition becoming an oil producing nation. Only time will tell if its a positive or negative development and i am happy there are other oil producing states around the gulf of guinea that Ghana can draw lessons from. It will depends entirely on its government to develop a plan or achievable policy blueprint that will ensure that revenue accrued from the sale of its oil is judiciously used for the development of its society. No doubt, oil brings with it a level of arrogance that could inadvertently destroy the common good which its suppose to facilitate or champion. It is also dangerous in terms of destruction of employment as other industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, tourism tends to suffer. The oil industry directly employs far fewer people as opposed to the sectors mentioned and its revenues accrue to a central government. I would like to see Ghana utilize its new sources of revenue in trying to sustain these other sectors which has the potential to bring more people directly out of poverty. Well done.

  • Comment number 18.

    I continue to struggle with being optimistic about this OIL and my reasons are simple. I see in many people in Ghana the lack of desire and ability develop. Here, it is accepted that everything perfect has to come from Europe, Japan and America. There is frustration everywhere, common decency is so hard to comeby, you have to go through hell to do simple things like getting your name spelt right by student record officers and they will even insist that you travel from whereever you are to come and wait in their office. The list is endless, so how can I believe the oil will do anything different?? The people need to know the value of empathy, making life easier for their fellow human beings so that all the money will not be stolen and locked up in Swiss Banks. The whole country looks like a slam, only small areas of Accra appear slightly dignified for a Country of 53 years of self-rule. And we have been exporting gold and diamonds all these 53 years. Only love and empathy filled people can make a difference for Ghana's development and then and only then maybe the OIL will grease their elbows in pushing this country forward.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think I agree with #4, Akpan, I think he hit on the right top of the nail. Though there's 50-50 chance that it could turn the same way as other oil producing countries, Ghana is lucky by virtue of Nigeria's example, and also, Ghana is somehow a bit of open or slightly transparent than some of the other African producing countries.

    In addition, The time-line of Ghana's oil found is far better than those of the other producing countries oil found Time-line. Why? the oil in Ghana has been found at a crucial stage of the country's advancement in democracy. If you look at the period that Nigeria oil was found and the time the production started and the level of democracy development at the time, one would be tempted to say that the greater part of the production period has been in a military regimes. On the other hand, Ghana's democracy is more of a model today as at the oil found time than most of the African countries. The period of Coups and its associated "good morning countrymen, the constitution has been suspended" is more or less a thing of the past in Ghana. Another thing is, its parliament is more vibrant and active than most of the other oil producing countries. The other important ingredient that Ghana have that eluded others, particularly, Nigeria, is its Vibrant media that with virtually no censorship which enables them to monitor and talk about the activities of government officials and the government is very essential.

    Though, the above discussions seem to portray that they could escape the curse, it's possible they could still fall. However, they have about 80% chance of escaping the curse!


  • Comment number 20.

    This question is just a very hard one to answer.In Africa our mineral that should be of blessing to us have now turn to be our worst nightmare.Just pray and hope that Ghana don't follow siut with our other brothers that have decided to sell us, wine and dine with our"masters" so to speak!!!!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Personally, I feel that Ghana's oil will lead the nation to join the developed nations in a shorter time. I, how ever, doubt that as Ghana has not yet prepared itself officially how this resource should be used, there is a possibility of being a curse and not a blessing. It should take constructive lesson from Nigeria and DR Congo's resource-caused conflicts. If Ghanaian are mature enough to properly and peacefully use this resource, it will be considered as top model nation in Africa coupled with its booming democracy. Ghana is most likely to show more more than 12% GDP growth. even more than that. Non-oil producer, Ethiopia, is even growing 11.2% every year for the past 7 years.

  • Comment number 22.

    Yes, it will make a difference for the elites

  • Comment number 23.

    As a Nigerian brother I hope the ordinary citizens of Ghana get a better deal from theiroil boom than we in Nigeria did.
    We go megalomaniac and selfish politicians that are among the highest paid in the world thrown in with poor infrastructure development, highest infant mortality rate in Africa and a whole lot of social injustice.

  • Comment number 24.

    The new wealth will be a blessing to the people of Ghana provided they stand guard against corruption

  • Comment number 25.

    Not until recently, Cameroonians didn't know the exact number of barrel being produced talk less of where the money was going[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator].Ghanaian, please don't allow yourselves to be deceived like Cameroonians. Ask your member of parliament to make this thing as transparent as possible.

  • Comment number 26.

    Will Ghana's petrol dollars make a difference? Yes, but it partly depend on how it manages it oil revenue, future demand for oil and what infrastructure it invests in. In the short term, oil dollars would hardly make a difference but the oil dollars could make a big difference in the long term if the governemnt makes the right investments now.
    Moreover, unlike other oil nations like Nigeria, Angola etc. Ghana has a diverse economy so the oil revenue would reduce it's foreign cashflow risk.

  • Comment number 27.

    Chana's petrol dollars will not make any differences in the lives of the common people- rural people,elderly, students, unemployed, etc.First, oil production, unlike cocoa production, involves a few workers.This provides opportunities for massive corruption unless effective measures are put on the ground to protect the oil revenues. But this is not possible given the history of anti-corruption enforcement in the country. Second, Ghanaian politicians like their counterparts in other oil-producing countries in Africa, are known to be corrupt. Ghana's petrol dollars will defintely benefit the politicians and their cronies.It will hardly trickle down to the common people just as revenues from cocoa and gold production have benefited the elite, including the politicians.

  • Comment number 28.

    Yes, Ghana will do well with its petrol dollars; much better than most oil-exporting African countries.

    Already, Ghana is doing relatively well without oil and gas revenues.

  • Comment number 29.

    It,s a thing of joy for Ghanians and west Africa,but the question that arises now is WHICH DIRECTION ARE WE MOVING, ARE THE PERSONALITIES READY TO COMMIT THEMSELVES IN MAKING USE OF THE MONEY IN ORDER TO BENEFIT THE CITIZENS ? its time to work on aggressive clock,all hands should be on deck, for Ghanians, its a big joy, big challenge and big responsibility, BEST OF LUCK TO MY SECOND HOME

  • Comment number 30.

    Congratulations'', but it must be said also that Ghana is still an impoverished third world black African country. Having said that, in order not to fall into the same dark hole as Nigeria, Equitorial Guinea etc, the Govt must have the vision of where the country should be in the nearest future, and come up with a strategic plan on how to get there. The economic plan must such that addresses the developemental needs of the entire country nothing more and nothing less. Additionally, Ghanaian people must at all times, demand for a whole package and reject absolutely any trickle down effect.

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    It is good news that Ghana has started producing oil. However, the ability of Ghana to turn the revenue from the oil into wealth for all Ghanaians is what we must all work towards. Evidence from other parts of Africa including Sudan and Nigeria suggest that few greedy politicians and public servants in collaboration with some international organisation siphon the resources out and keep them in financial institution in America, Europe and Asia.
    I believe public interest in the way revenue from the oil will be used will help avoid the mistakes of others. Ghanaians must moderate their expectation regarding how much money will accrue from the oil. The truth is that, the companies who discovered the oil will take much of the revenue away from Ghana to shareholders in their native countries. We must continue to develop other sectors of the economy that have more sustainable resources for development. I believe agriculture is the real game changer for Ghana and Africa, we will never be wrong if we invest significant resources from the oil in modern commercial scale agriculture.

  • Comment number 33.

    For a small country like Ghana to be blessed with all this abandent natural resources counting from cocoa,gold,timber,cotton,and all the other but still we are poor. We now have oil for which everybody in the world is saying, it is going to change the economy but let all of us look back and see how our learders manage our resources, using it for their own self-fish interest. People complete the tertiaries education and no government jobs them but our learder are living like angels on earth. It is my prayer that for this oil be put into good use but not to enrich their self.

  • Comment number 34.

    Ghana will be on track to join Mauritius, South Africa, Botswana in the Middle Income status at around 2025. Nigeria has also had remarkable progress and it is not all doom and gloom. With more oil supplies countries with no oil have more variety of vendors to choose from. I wish Ghana continued success.

  • Comment number 35.

    It is undebatable that the oil of Ghana could either become a blessing or a curse. Honestly speaking, the curses of oil on some oil-producing nations are all too conspicuous enough for Ghana to learn from. Ghana has always set the pace in Africa and I believe the opportunity has presented itself again and, I pray that, that same God/Allah who has always held Ghana as a beacon of hope will continue to do so even more than ever, now. I DREAM A DAY WHERE AFRICAN POLITICIANS WOULD PUT ASIDE THEIR POLITICAL DIFFERENCES IN FAVOUR THEIR NATIONS. Hmm! What a day that'll be.... That said, am cautiously optimistic that Ghana would come out better, I believe, however, failure to learn from other African scenarios (Oil-disasters)due to complicency is a recipe for disaster. Long live mother Africa and God bless Ghana. Shalom.

  • Comment number 36.

    Ghana's petrol dollars would surely make a difference if and only if Prez Mills is in power up to 2016 or some one like him is in power. Not Nana!

  • Comment number 37.

    Ghana can be viewed as the first independent nation in Sub-Saharan Africa.Citizens of Ghana don't behave like renters or strangers in a house who care less about improvement of the place that shelters them.Except for a very few, every Ghanain seems focused on improvement of the only land God created for them. Clearly therefore, I believe without the usual western interference of saturating African countries with weaponry as has been the case in other African nations, some changes will take place and Ghanains will reap benefits. I pray that the western world allows at least 40% of the anticipated oil wealth to remain in Ghana.

  • Comment number 38.

    Ghana should note that Oil brings wealth and trouble not only in Africa, if not well managed, its troubles are enormous, ranging from, Oil spliage, envionmental degredation, Community unrest, sharp practices of Oil companies, corruption just to mention a few. If well managed, it brings wealth and economic growth. Ghana please contnue to operate your economy as if there is no oil.


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