Held on 21st November 2014
The ‘paradox of plenty’ hypothesis, also known as the resource curse, contends that many resource-rich countries have produced negative developmental, economic and socio-political outcomes as a direct result of the deleterious utilization of their mineral resources. The Aberdeen University Centre for Energy Law (AUCEL) is now leading dedicated multidisciplinary postgraduate course and research into the topical subject.
On 21st November 2014, AUCEL hosted the “Oil and Minerals for Good Conference”. Syndicates comprising postgraduate students on the Oil & Minerals for Good course from over twenty countries presented the outcomes of their critical evaluation of the indication of the `paradox of plenty’ in several countries selected as case-studies. The syndicates proffered innovative approaches to this fascinating and topical subject. Moderating the proceedings at the conference was the course faculty panel made up of Dr Mark Osa Igiehon, Prof. John Paterson, Prof. Hilary Homans, Dr Sola Kasim and Emre Usenmez.
From the analysis gathered at the conference, it became clear that it would require more than transparency to resolve the resource curse hypothesis. Efforts must be made to first achieve a comprehensive political settlement in the case of South Sudan, institutional and capacity building in the case of Ghana and greater transparency in the case of Azerbaijan. At the end, the South Sudanese syndicate emerged winners of the award for best research, comprehensiveness and presentation. The South Sudan syndicate displayed a deep understanding of the political history and tensions in the region and offered well researched pragmatic approaches to addressing the potential for resource curse in that country.
The faculty provided feedback and steer on the Resource Curse as well as range of technical subjects from presentation skills to the proper presentation of statistical data. The postgraduate students also shared their views on the course and how much they appreciated the course contents and the lecturers who were very supportive.