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Is Oil a curse or blessing | Blog

Current Affairs

Oil is one of the most coveted mineral resources in the world. It has led to the growth of nations, and industries ranging from textile to tourism use oil as a source of energy. Most countries are significantly affected by developments in the oil market, either as producers, consumers or both[1]. Man is therefore always going to endeavour to extract the vital fuel.
Many countries in the developing world have over time, become wealthier, more democratic and more peaceful. However, third-world countries that produce minerals, particularly petroleum, still suffer from authoritarian governments, gender inequality and civil wars. This is called the ‘Resource Curse’[2]. They find themselves in constant turmoil; tools of multinational consortiums forcefully trying take over management and rarely using the resource to the citizens’ benefit.

On the other hand, oil has been very beneficial to the economy of developed countries. The strife seen in developing nations has largely been avoided with anti-corruption legislation. For example, US based-Oil Companies are under the constraints of it’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and foreign companies fall under its anti-bribery codes.

In the last decade, the British Oil exploration company Tullow Oil discovered commercial oil deposits in Kenya. The now retired President of the Republic, Mwai Kibaki, declared the news. This was a ray of hope to the impoverished Turkana inhabitants and Kenya as a whole.
Will the oil be a blessing? Food aid being distributed in Turkana
Will the oil be a blessing? Food aid being distributed in Turkana

In Kenya all minerals and mineral oil, as defined by law, qualify as public land[3]. This public land shall vest in and be held by the national government in trust of the people of Kenya and shall be administered on their behalf by the National Land Commission[4]. It is important that we adhere to this and learn from developed countries in their mining and export of oil, to prevent the “Resource Curse” falling upon us. Let us pray the oil found will be a blessing.
[1] Natural Resources Canada, Importance of Crude Oil ,October 2010s
[2] The Oil Curse by Michael l.Rose
[3] Constitution of Kenya 2010 Article 62 clause 1(f)
[4] Constitution of Kenya 2010 Article 62 clause 3

photocredit: NATION MEDIA GROUP (featured image) and  Irina Fuhrmann/Oxfam  cc (inline image)


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