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Africa’s oil and gas boom – opportunity or resource trap?

Natural resources in Africa have often been bad for the general populations of the countries where these occur. Many are relieved that resource booms in countries like Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and elsewhere did not happen in the 1960s.

Director of the Centro de Itegridade Publica (Centre of Public Integrity) Mocambique, Adriano Nuvunga, describes Mozambique’s natural resource boom as a boom in slow motion, having started in 2005 with natural gas exports to South Africa, the award of the Moatize coal concession to Vale and the completion of the 2005 licensing round for the Rovuma basin. Nearly a decade later the impacts for Mozambique have been modest.

The Pande-Temane gas export capacity has increased and Mozambique is the 7th largest exporter of natural gas in Africa, but cumulative payments to the country’s ministry of finance are less than US$200 million. However, worldclass reserves of natural gas have been found offshore in deep water close to the Tanzanian border, in concessions led by US group Anadarko and Italian group ENI. “Of course no one wanted to find gas; they were looking for oil,” Nuvunga says.

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