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‘Resource curse’ map 2012: Highlights countries where an abundance of natural resources risks undermining economic development, Source: Maplecroft

Norway today ranks top in every major human development metric and it didn’t occur by chance. Rather, it had a concerted policy in place to develop a national petroleum industry, and avoid becoming a country dependent on resource revenues. Norway had a flexible approach to policy reforms in the face of changing economic circumstances though the overarching goal of the nation’s development needs remained the same. Initially, sustainable development meant using the resource revenues to develop an industry complementary to their resource wealth. Only then did they diversify the proceeds to generate long-term offshore capital accumulation and investments

So what can we learn from Norway in resource development strategy?

  1. Need to build strong political institutions to draw on sufficient expertise to produce general policy guidelines.
  2. Investment in industries that are strategic complements to upstream petroleum extraction
  3. Oil Fund (e.g Norwegian Pension Fund) to invest resource rents abroad to smooth against revenue volatility 
In conclusion, LEADERSHIP & POLITICAL WILL are crucial to develop and build institutions centered not around men but rather on best practices in accountability, corporate governance, and local community engagement in all aspects of the value chain. This is the only guaranteed route to turn the resource curse syndrome that continues to afflict many African countries today. The Norwegians did this and there’s no reason why we can’t follow in the same vein.