Resource-rich countries in West Africa have seen remarkable economic growth as of late, partly due to mineral, oil, and gas (MOG) revenues. Future growth is imminent, too, with Ghana’s and Nigeria’s GDPs projected to grow by more than 8% in 2014. The extractive sector accounted for 56% of Ghana’s exports in 2011, and government revenues from the sector were reported at US$940 million. In 2011, oil and gas represented 95% of Nigeria’s exports, and the government’s revenues from the sector were estimated at US$68 billion.
However, the social conditions of millions of the sub-region’s people remain dire. Poverty is widespread and the levels of joblessness, especially among young people, are high and increasing. With better governance of the resource sector, countries can do more to translate revenues from their extractive industries into sustainable development benefits for their people.
This policy brief provides lessons and advice for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to help improve governance of the MOG sector and better harness revenues for West African citizens.