On Wednesday, August 18, 2010, Center for Global Development hosted a brownbag seminar entitled On the Duration of Political Power in Africa: The Role of Oil Rent featuring Luc Désiré Omgba, of CERDI, Université d’Auvergne. Mead Over, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development, moderated this discussion.
Access Omgba's slides (pdf, 211K).
Abstract: It is often underlined that African oil producing countries are politically unstable as a result of the role that this natural resource can play in political incentives. Based on data documenting the duration in office of 101 heads of State of 26 African countries (North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa), our findings reveal a surprising twist on the conventional wisdom: the purported instability of oil producing African countries does not appear to extend to the executive branch of the State. Conversely, using survival analysis including non-parametric and parametric estimators and controlling for many factors that may affect a leader's tenure, our research suggests a positive link between oil rents and the duration in office of African leaders. Our research also reveals that for other minerals rents, do not witness the same stabilizing effect. Our interpretation of these results is grounded in an analysis of the practicalities of oil investment. Investment in oil requires massive financial investments and considerable production technology. To ensure the profitability of these investments, investors are tempted to give their supports to political leaders with which the contracts were negotiated, thereby reducing the risk of losing the property rights that may accompany a change in the executive branch of the state. In addition, the tensions of the oil international market have global repercussions. Since oil has a strategic aspect that other mining products do not, the international community is tempted to exert fewer pressures for a change in leadership in an oil producing State regardless of what type of political regime may govern the country.
With apologies, the webcast is unavailable due to technical difficulties.