Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Oil and Corruption in Southern Africa

There has been much uproar in recent weeks and months over an alleged oil deal in Zambia involving the former president of the country and various individuals and groups out of Nigeria that now appear somewhat shady. Now the focus has shifted to Malawi where, according to local publications, another dodgy government-to-government oil deal has apparently been uncovered, this time involving the government of Malawian president Joyce Banda.

Malawi faces chronic fuel shortages. A deal to supply oil was concluded with Nigeria in May 2012. It now appears, however, that a certain Nigerian family with close ties to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan - the same family implicated in the deal in Zambia, may have profited disproportionately from the Malawi-Nigeria deal. Accusations are also flying about that government officials in Malawi were involved in corruption.

Southern Africa is growing fast and countries are increasingly energy-hungry. This presents a problem for, particularly, smaller states that face regular foreign exchange shortages. Should the allegations prove true, it will not help matters. Corruption and oil are a bad mix that can do nothing to improve the problems facing Malawi and Banda's government.

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