Emeka Okafor, of Africa Unchained, brings to our attention the book Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil, four excerpts of which can now be perused at the online zine Slate. As the Slate editors so colorfully narrate, author John Ghazvinian, "traveled from the parched dust bowls of Chad and Sudan to the swamps and jungles of Nigeria and the Congo, and from the corridors of Washington to the gleaming offices of Big Oil." The excerpts of Untapped chosen by Slate provide troubling answers to the following four questions:
- Does oil-producing Africa live up to the hype?
- Why is it impossible to buy bananas in Gabon, when they grow in profusion in the nation's virgin rainforest?
- Can an underdeveloped country like São Tomé and Príncipe learn from other nations' mistakes and avoid the "curse of oil"?
- What effect does the establishment of an oil-company compound in the middle of Chad have on the neighboring land and people?
Read them! I am doing that right now.