Concerned Ghanaian officials believe the country’s discovery of domestic oil reserves last year represents “perhaps the greatest managerial challenge
” since its independence, reports IRIN News. Though oil revenues could boost Ghana’s sagging economy and improve its infrastructure, there are real fears that mismanagement could destabilize the country and exacerbate social inequalities. Francis Ackah, engineering manager of the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC), confessed that the country currently lacks the “know-how” to manage the resource constructively.
In an attempt to avoid the “resource curse,” Ackah confirmed the government’s desire to implement the “Norway model” of resource revenue management, which deposits oil funds in a national petroleum fund at the central bank, hires external managers to invest the money, and uses the revenue to fund social services.
Ghanaian President John Kufuor warned that “oil sometimes proves the undoing” of countries blessed with reserves. Other oil-rich African countries—such as Nigeria, Chad, and Angola—have been plagued by insecurity and underdevelopment. Nigeria has been plagued by rebel attacks on strategic oil pipelines.