From Wed Jul 7 10:15:08 2004
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2004 10:16:29 -0500 (CDT)
From: IRC Communications <>
Organization: Interhemispheric Resource Center
Subject: FPIF News | World Bank's Gamble in Central Africa
Article: 183997
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

The World Bank's Great Gamble in Central Africa

By Leif Brottem, Foreign Policy in Focus, 6 July 2004

The first tanker loaded with Chadian crude oil embarked from the Cameroonian port of Kribi on October 5th, 2003. The landlocked Central African nation of Chad will receive around $2 billion over the lifetime of the oil fields developed by a consortium led by energy giant Exxon-Mobil. Through its financial backing of the project, the World Bank is putting to the test a new approach to an old African problem: the marriage of oil, embezzlement, and political corruption. Through a carefully orchestrated plan to impose transparency and good governance on the elected Chadian officials, the bank aims to ensure that the money is used to benefit the nations people, who are among the poorest in the world.

To those eager to use the project as a beachhead into the regions oil fields, the World Bank seems to have created the perfect mechanism to deal with Africa's undemocratic governments. Yet those members of the international community that expect a willful transformation in Chad seem to ignore one potent variable: the nations political situation. On October 10th, Chadian President Idriss Deby celebrated the oil projects inauguration, and human rights organizations observed a nationwide day of mourning. As the oil starts flowing, optimists have their fingers crossed and see it as a chance for Chad. The Chadians themselves just want to avoid the worst and, for once, live in peace and security.