My proposed dissertation will investigate on how lack of proper legislation especially in the oil and gas industry in three leading economies of Africa, namely Nigeria, South Africa and Angola, has resulted in communities still living in abject poverty, with no or very little effect on the economic position of the common person in those countries. After completing this investigation, I will venture into what Tanzania can learn from these countries especially how Tanzania can incorporate amendments to its draft constitution to ensure that the recently discovered gas (and hopefully soon oil) does benefit the people of Tanzania. Notably, the Curse of Black Gold has caused great economic and political disharmony in many countries in Africa. The main thrust of my dissertation will be to find out whether the discovery of gas in Tanzania is a curse or a blessing and what Tanzania can learn from other African countries not having a proper legislative framework in place.
Additionally, I will examine the constitutional frameworks of Nigeria, South Africa and Angola and the weaknesses therein, to understand what these three countries could have done better in their mother law at the outset, to ensure political stability and economic progress for its people. The scramble for riches has ruined many people in these countries and as a matter of fact it is no secret that all the three countries have seen great challenges, with some stating that the countries would have been better off had the black gold not been discovered.
The World Bank, in protecting the economy of the African countries, acknowledged severally that there is need for transparency and proper legislation put in place to ensure that economic benefits trickle to the people of the country with these resources. Notably, in October 2012, The World Bank went to the extent of launching a fund to help countries on the African continent level the playing field and ensure equitable deals in their natural resource contracts with international companies.
Today, Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. Admiringly, despite a major disparity between the rich and poor, Tanzania has managed to maintain a very stable political landscape with very few security issues. With discoveries in the gas sector, the world is keen to see how Tanzania will be able to continue maintaining this stability, especially learning from these other economies and the fact that the constitution of Tanzania hardly covers or addresses this new gas economy that the country is venturing into.
My dissertation is also aimed at analyzing and providing insights on how Tanzania can ensure that it puts in place constitutional protection amongst other legislation to ensure that the people benefit from the discoveries. This leads me to the question, what can Tanzania do in its legislation to break this curse and what are the dos and donts considering that the discovery and presence of multinational oil companies is already causing some stress in the marketplace.
Finally, this dissertation will be research based, and I intend to travel to these countries to collect first-hand information. Unfortunately, collecting information in Angola will be challenging considering it is a Portuguese speaking country, but nonetheless Angola is an important new player in the oil industry and will provide a different dimension to the mega problems that Nigeria has gone through over the last 50 years. Tanzania is at crossroads but best placed to come up with the best constitutional and other legislative framework to ensure that it is a win-win for both the people of Tanzania and the investor. Only time will tell if Tanzania does succeed in striking this balance.
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