Illusionary Transparency? Oil Revenues, Information Disclosure, and Transparency
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonSociety & Natural Resources. 2015, 28 (11), 1187-1202. 10.1080/08941920.2015.1024806
xperience shows that discovery of valuable natural resources can become a curse rather than a blessing, and transparency has been identified as key to better resource governance because it can limit opportunities for corruption and mismanagement. This article shows that information disclosure, in which many governments and donor institutions engage, does not automatically translate into transparency. Ghana has embedded transparency as one of its key principles in oil management. However, fieldwork conducted in a coastal village close to Ghana's offshore oil fields documents that people in the village lack access to information about oil revenues. The study identifies that the main barriers for acquiring information are people's lack of capacity and willingness to acquire such information. Furthermore, the government of Ghana and the villagers perceive transparency very differently: The former equates information disclosure to transparency, whereas the latter perceive transparency in terms of the development in their community.