News / Africa

South Sudan 'Failing' at Resource Management

An oil processing facility is seen at an oilfield in Unity State, South Sudan, April 22, 2012.
An oil processing facility is seen at an oilfield in Unity State, South Sudan, April 22, 2012.
Jill Craig
A new report says one billion people could have their lives transformed with better governance and management of their countries’ natural resources.

The study by Revenue Watch, which was released Wednesday in Washington, D.C., says that less than 20 percent of the 58 countries studied "embraced openness and accountability.” These 58 countries produce 85 percent of the world’s petroleum, 90 percent of the world’s diamonds, and 80 percent of the world’s copper, according to Revenue Watch.

Revenue Watch is a New York based non-profit that, according to its website, works to reduce corruption and improve governance in resource rich countries.

The 58 countries in the study were evaluated on four factors – institutional and legal setting, reporting practices, safeguards and quality controls, and general governance environment. 

Revenue Watch says that most of the worst performers depend almost exclusively upon revenues from natural resources as their main source of income. South Sudan, the most oil dependent country in the world, received a failing grade, ranking 50th out of the 58 countries.

Revenue Watch analyst Marie Lintzer, an analyst with Research Watch, worked on the project. 

“They don’t have an open and transparent oil sector," she said. "By that, we mean that they do not publish a lot of information about the oil revenues that they get, and their checks and balances are weak."

“And actually the only part where South Sudan scores really high on our index is regarding the institutional arrangements," she continued. "They have laws in place and since 2011, they have issued some laws regarding transparency in the oil sector. And South Sudan has a very high score in that respect.”

But, Lintzer added that while South Sudan may have laws on the books, such as the 2012 Petroleum Act, implementation of the laws is a problem.

“For now, none of the government agencies have been publishing information, so you can’t really find anything,” she said. “Whether it’s reports that have been published by ministries, or online, that was the main difficulty. Because you don’t have any information on the sector.”

South Sudan’s dependence on its oil sector makes better governance a priority, according to Lintzer.  
 
“Their entire economy is based on oil. And therefore, managing well your oil sector and having an accountable and transparent oil sector is important for the economic development of that country and for the sustainability of the economic growth that would go with that.”

Revenue Watch President Daniel Kaufmann agreed, saying the issue is not only important for South Sudan, but also for other countries ranking poorly on the index.

“But in terms of a development challenge of this decade, for these countries, it is the management, the better governance, anti-corruption in natural resources,” he said. “Because that is basically where their domestic resources lie.” 

However, the Revenue Watch report states that being wealthy is not a precondition for good governance of resources. The report said six of the top 11 performers on the index are middle-income countries, including Mexico, Colombia, and Peru.

“The silver lining is that some are performing satisfactorily, and that shows that it can be done, that there’s no such thing as a deterministic resource curse,” Kaufmann explained. Those countries that are doing satisfactorily are not all rich industrialized countries. And that’s very interesting news from this data report.”

Revenue Watch said the future of sub-Saharan African countries will depend on how well they manage their oil, gas, and mineral resources.

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs