06-08-2011-23-08-01-939mdf89282

You may know of the phrase “resource curse.” According to the Time Magazine, the Resource Curse describes the phenomenon of how, when a poor country discovers vast natural wealth, economists around the world cry, “Aw, hell!” Most countries that have been endowed with resources have not observed the expected economic blessing and if anything suffer as a result. That is changing with Botswana leading the way, turning it diamond reserves into economic progress – hope the progress is sustainable – cause diamonds will fade. Here is the list of African countries in order of the barrels of oil produced per day.

COUNTRY BARRELS PER DAY
Nigeria 2,600,000
Algeria 2,080,000
Libya 1,600,000
Angola 1,250,000
Egypt 579,000
Sudan 363,000
Equatorial Guinea 356,000
Chad 249,000
Congo 227,000
Gabon 226,000

It is important to understand that the list is based on the number of barrels produced per day. This is not an indication of how much wealth (oil) the countries have but rather how much they choose to produce daily. Also, the rankings does not include countries that may as well have greater reserves but yet to start production such as Uganda and Ghana.

The most important this is not how much oil any country has but rather how much such scarce a resource is transformed into better living standards for all. Equatorial Guinea is a case in point, albeit an extreme one. Its GDP per capita is $23,133 (32nd in the world just ahead of South Korea). However, three-quarters of its population lives in poverty (2006) and it ranks 136th on the Human Development Index (2012). On the other hand, Botswana has managed fairly well to transform its diamond into broad based development. I hope that the newly discovered wealth in countries such as Uganda, Ghana, and Tanzania will be utilized for the benefits of Africans.