Friday, November 14, 2008

Panel Discussion: The Petroleum and Poverty Paradox

Panel Discussion: Senate Foreign Relations Staff Report on “The Petroleum and Poverty Paradox: Assessing U.S. and International Community Efforts to Fight the Resource Curse”

Reception and Photo Exhibit with Ed Kashi, Photographer:
Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta

Thursday, November 20, 4:30-7:00 PM

PANEL from 4:30-5:50 PM in the HERTER ROOM, Nitze Building,
Johns Hopkins – SAIS, 1740 Mass Ave., Main Floor
RECEPTION from 6:00-7:00 PM in the Student Lounge off the Nitze Cafeteria

Panel Discussion:
Moderator: Ian Gary, Senior Policy Advisor, Oxfam America
Neil Brown, Professional Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Michael Phelan, Professional Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Dr. Peter Lewis, Director, African Studies, Johns Hopkins - SAIS

Join us for a panel discussion focused on the new Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff report, “The Petroleum and Poverty Paradox: Assessing U.S. and International Community Efforts to Fight the Resource Curse.” The report is based on months of research, including field visits to oil-producing countries in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, by Sen. Lugar’s committee staff. The panel will look at the key global findings and recommendations, as well as examine the progress and challenges in addressing the resource curse in Nigeria.

The panel discussion is being organized in conjunction with an exhibit of photos from the Niger Delta. The photos, by Ed Kashi, are drawn from a new book, Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta, edited by Prof. Michael Watts of UC Berkeley. The photos will be on display in the lobby of the Nitze Building at SAIS from Nov. 17-30. Ed Kashi has photographed in 60-plus countries. His images have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, National Geographic and other publications. His work on West Bank settlers received a World Press Photo award. His eight-year project, "Aging in America: The Years Ahead," won prizes from Pictures of the Year and World Press Photo. Kashi and his wife, writer/filmmaker Julie Winokur, founded Talking Eyes Media, a multimedia nonprofit. Visit

Please RSVP for the panel discussion and reception to

At SAIS, contact or African Studies: 202-663-5676

Press Release of Senator Lugar
More can be done to prevent abuses from oil wealth

Monday, November 10, 2008

The United States and the international community must do more to prevent mismanagement and corruption in developing countries newly enriched by oil export revenues, according to a new Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff report.
“The United States has important economic, security and humanitarian interests in seeing that revenue from oil production and other extractive industries are well managed,” said Sen. Dick Lugar, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Discovery of large oil reserves should be a benefit to a poor country, but history proves the opposite is often the case. It can lead to fraud, corruption, wasteful spending, military adventurism, and instability.”

The report, entitled “The Petroleum and Poverty Paradox: Assessing U.S. and International Community Efforts to Fight the Resource Curse,” was prepared by Lugar’s committee staff based on on-site inspections to a number of oil-producing countries in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. The findings include that a key tool to fight the so-called “resource curse” is more disclosure, or transparency, of the fees and royalties paid by international oil companies to the governments of developing countries. A special international organization, the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative, based in Norway, has been formed to enlist oil-producing developing countries in a voluntary program of income disclosure and outside auditing.

The report found that while the United States generally supports transparency efforts, action often falls short. U.S. attention to the issue is often sporadic, and it has not received a high priority at the top levels of government. The report also found that international coordination on transparency matters lacks coordination, and that some key countries, including China, whose state-backed oil companies have a large footprint in many developing nations, have not yet engaged in the extractives transparency agenda.

The report makes a number of recommendations for the new administration, including that the U.S. make combating the resource curse a high-profile issue in diplomacy and foreign policy. It recommends that the industrial G-8 countries do more to encourage their corporations and financial institutions to promote disclosure and accountability in oil exporting nations, and that the World Bank and other aid donors make anti-corruption and fiscal management programs a key part of their lending to oil producing nations.

Good management of extractive revenues is important to broad U.S. foreign policy goals, Lugar emphasized. “When oil revenue in a producing country can be easily tracked, that nation’s elite are more likely to use revenues for the vital needs of their citizens and less likely to squander newfound wealth on self-aggrandizing projects," Lugar said. "When financial markets see stable economic growth and political organization in oil-rich states, supplies are more reliable and the risk premium factored into gas prices at the pump is lower. And as official corruption tempted by oil wealth abates, our foreign assistance dollars can do more to help the world’s most needy.”

The report may be found at the Senate Foreign Relations section of the Government Printing Office website: It is report number S. Prt. 110-49 can be in TEXT 59K or PDF 3.2M format.

No comments: