Session 2: Exploiting Africa’s Resources
Honorable Maria Kiwanuka, Uganda’s Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, chaired AGF’s first session, Exploiting Africa’s Resources: Dangers, Opportunities, and Learning from Success. Tony Venables, (Oxford) led discussion regarding Options for Ensuring Oil-Led Growth, during which he presented on cross-country lessons learned in managing abundant resources, citizen expectations, and potential allocations between consumption, saving, and investment portfolios.
He was followed by Dr. Keith Jefferies (Econsult Botswana) who presented Lessons from Botswana’s Experience in Transforming Resource Wealth into Sustainable Development. Dr. Jeffris’ presentation described Botswana’s policy approaches to avoid hurdles such as Dutch disease, excessive public spending, and suboptimal negotiation outcomes over the country’s forty year experience in managing mineral rents.
Finally Dr. Marcelo Giugale (World Bank) discussed the role of involving citizens in decision-making in mineral rents and public financial management in his presentation, Linking People to their Natural Resources. His presentation highlighted the potential for Direct Dividend Transfers to eliminate/alleviate poverty in Africa.
The session also included brief presentations by the Honourable Elizabeth James Bol, Deputy Minister of Petroleum, Mining, Industry and Environment of South Sudan and Dr. Joseph Asenso, Team Leader for the Ghanaian Ministry of Finance’s Energy, Oil and Gas Unit, who each gave presentations on challenges and opportunities in the South Sudanese and Ghanaian resource sectors, respectively. The discussions focused on optimal fiscal regimes, environmental protection measures, and threats of potential Dutch disease and sector bubbles.