New research explores how natural resources can boost human development in Africa
Eight research papers, launched today at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, give policymakers practical advice on leveraging natural resources into human development outcomes.
History shows that countries with abundant natural resource wealth do not necessarily manage to translate this wealth into outcomes their citizens care about – such as better health, better education, and basic social protection programmes. How can they do better? OPM’s new research, for the first time, provides projections of upcoming resource revenues in a number of selected African countries and explicitly links them to potential for improvements in human development.
Commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and conducted in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the project has produced a series of eight research papers exploring aspects of the link between natural resources and human development in six countries – Ghana, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda. The launch takes place at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town today.
Maja Jakobsen, OPM consultant and project manager, said: “We focused on these six countries because they have recently discovered quantified reserves of oil, gas or minerals in a sector where policy frameworks are yet to be fully elaborated. Nonetheless, the research findings will be valuable to policymakers in any low- and middle-income country where additional natural resources have recently been discovered.”
BMGF and AfDB have used the eight research papers to develop a “Flagship Report” summarising their take on the lessons that emerge. The flagship report, ‘Delivering on the promise: Leveraging natural resources to accelerate human development in Africa’, is also launched today.
The OPM team adopted a collaborative approach, working closely with government officials, academics, industry and civil society representatives. The final papers estimate the likely scale and timing of new revenues from natural resources in the six African countries; analyse key macroeconomic policy decisions; relate them to financing needs in health, education and social protection; and present a diagnostic framework for approaching decisions on the best fit between resource revenues and spending possibilities.
The research also asks how public policy choices can harness industry activities – spending on employment, procurement and infrastructure, and social investment – for the broad-based economic growth which is necessary to support human development.
Maja Jakobsen continued: “Our research provides the evidence and insights to support policymakers make informed decisions around transforming new natural resource discoveries into better services, healthier lives and better livelihoods.”
Read the research papers on the project page here.
Check out the project website: www.NaturalResourcesForHumanDev.org