Recent discoveries of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Guinea have renewed interest in petroleum development in West Africa. This news is received with both hope and apprehension by the citizens of West African nations. If properly managed, petroleum revenue can alleviate poverty and further sustainable development. However, poor governance of this resource can exacerbate poverty, create conflict and impede development in a phenomenon known as the "resource curse." In order to increase government accountability and combat the "curse," three West African nations in different stages of petroleum development – Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia – are considering or have passed freedom of information laws which establish legal rights to access information about public activities. This Article examines rights to access information about petroleum development in each of these countries through a legal analysis of constitutional rights, freedom of information laws, and laws, regulations and contracts governing the petroleum sector. Part II is a primer on petroleum development in the Gulf of Guinea. Part II also describes the "resource curse" and how public access to information combats its worst effects. Parts III, IV and V describe petroleum development in Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia, respectively, and then examine the legal frameworks in these nations which affect public access to information about petroleum development. This Article ends with a summary of key findings and recommendations.
|School:||The George Washington University|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||MAI 50/06M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Law, Environmental Law, Energy|
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