[resource war] "I hope they don't find oil, then we will really be in trouble," says one of the bystanders in last year's Hollywood thriller about Africa, Blood Diamond.
For although diamonds have gained a bad reputation in the last decade for spreading war and unrest on the African continent, there is still nothing as potentially destabilizing as possible oil discoveries. Only in recent weeks have possible oil deposits threatened to derail several of the continent's peace processes, including in Congo-Kinshasa and Sudan. And the more extensive the oil race becomes on the continent, the more areas at risk of suffering the black curse.
The destabilizing properties of the oil have long been debated in Africa. As in the Middle East, oil wars are nothing new, the oil has been a participant in civil wars and coups in both Angola, Congo-Brazzaville, Sudan and Nigeria for decades. The oil also has a reputation as a guarantor of some of the continent's most authoritarian regimes, such as Libya and Algeria. The five largest oil producers in Africa, Algeria, Angola, Libya, Nigeria and Sudan are all characterized by authoritarian rule and / or civil war.
Both in Nigeria and Angola, the locals in the oil-rich areas, the Niger Delta and Cabinda respectively, have resorted to weapons against the central government and the oil sector, in which case the oil itself is a triggering cause for unrest.
But oil not only triggers wars, it also tends to slow development. . .
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