The Political Economy of Oil in Equatorial Guinea

by Brendan McSherry

Abstract

This paper analyzes the political economy of oil in Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa’s newest and most important oil producers. It begins with a brief history of the country and its recent experience with oil-led development. The paper then moves on to integrate the experience of Equatorial Guinea into the literature linking natural resource abundance to poor development performance, authoritarianism, and civil conflict, respectively. The paper concludes by arguing that oil has exacerbated already present pathologies in Equatorial Guinea’s political economy, paving the way for future problems of underdevelopment, instability and authoritarian rule, problems that could all be alleviated to some degree by changes in U.S. foreign policy towards the region.

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Brendan McSherry is a doctoral student in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.