São Tomé e Príncipe: Human Rights Watch urges new govt. to manage oil revenues transparently, use them to address poverty

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Article
24 August 2010

An Uncertain Future: Oil Contracts and Stalled Reform in São Tomé e Príncipe

Author: Human Rights Watch

Since São Tomé entered into oil exploration agreements in 1997 and in 2001 and joined with Nigeria to manage disputed offshore areas cooperatively, the country has laid much of the legislative groundwork it needs to manage future oil revenues transparently. But São Tomé’s government has struggled to cope with the pressures and temptations that come with oil wealth, even though the country’s offshore fields have yet to produce a single barrel... São Tomé has also emerged as a key case study of international efforts to prevent countries falling victim to the “resource curse” that has afflicted so many oil-producing countries. Precisely because of São Tomé’s small population, its future oil revenues have the potential to transform the country, rolling back the crushing rates of poverty and unemployment and improving dilapidated schools, clinics, and other services... 2010 could represent a turning point for São Tomé e Príncipe. A new government is expected to form after an opposition party won legislative elections held in August...

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Article
24 August 2010

São Tomé e Príncipe: Oil Deals and the New Government

Author: Human Rights Watch

...São Tomé e Príncipe is at a crossroads with a chance to benefit from its potential oil wealth, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today...[By] the end of the year São Tomé is expected to announce the companies selected as the winners of an important round of bidding for the right to drill for oil... The...report...documents how São Tomé's government remains ill-equipped to manage the revenues from any hydrocarbon endowment, despite domestic and international efforts to improve financial transparency and accountability... Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch [said,] "[The new government] has a window of opportunity and should use it to make sure São Tomé's citizens benefit from oil revenues when and if they start to flow."... The failure...to improve...management of its oil resources culminated in São Tomé's effective expulsion from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in April 2010...

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