Oiling Development? A critical analysis of Norway's petroleum assistance to Angola

Martinsen, Mari (2011-03)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: African affairs have traditionally not occupied a central place in Norway’s official foreign policy, and relations with countries in West Africa have been limited. However, in recent years, resource-rich countries such as Angola – Africa’s largest oil producer – have become the focus of Norwegian strategic interests. Private and public investments are increasing rapidly, paralleling a larger focus on aid. Today, Angola is a core country within Norway’s most prominent petroleum-related assistant programme, Oil for Development (OfD). This thesis will aim to contribute, by means of a critical political economy analysis, to a better understanding of Norway’s role in Angola through OfD. Specifically, this study aims to question who and what structures Norway really is aiding in Angola. Such an objective will be achieved by firstly using critical theory to demonstrate Norway’s role as a traditional middle power – through which Norway seeks to export an altruistic perception of a ‘do-good- image’ – is underpinned by a deeper national self-interest. Secondly, the thesis questions the theoretical foundation of OfD, and, thirdly, it attempts to identify whom the OfD programme is aiding. Ultimately, the thesis questions whether Norway is promoting sustainable development in Angola, or whether, instead, it is contributing to maintaining a status quo, from which Norway as a middle power continues to benefit. The study illustrates that Norway, as a middle power, has neither the capacity nor the national self-interest to achieve fundamental change in Angola. Norway’s commitment to the good governance agenda, and the belief in solutions offered by the resource curse thesis, is tackling the symptoms of Angola’s underdevelopment, rather than its root causes. OfD adopts a state-centric approach, which accepts the political economy structures in Angola, and gives limited attention to global structures and civil society. The thesis offers an alternative analysis, which illustrates how OfD is masking a neo-liberal development approach by incorporating Norwegian business interests and development goals in the same programme.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Afrika sake het tradisioneel nie 'n sentrale plek in Noorweë se amptelike buitelandse beleid beklee nie, en verhoudings met die westelike deel van die Afrika-kontinent is beperk. Tydens die afgelope jare het olie-ryk lande, soos Angola, egter die fokus van Noorweegse strategiese belange geword. Angola is vandag 'n kern land binne Noorweë se mees prominente petroleum-verwante hulpverleningsprogram, Oil for Development (OfD). Hierdie tesis het ten doel om, deur middel van 'n kritiese politieke ekonomie ontleding, by te dra tot ’n beter begrip van Noorweë se rol in Angola deur die OfD. Spesifiek bevraagteken hierdie studie aan wie en watter strukture in Angola Noorweë hulp verleen. Dit sal gedoen word deur eerstens gebruik te maak van kritiese teorie om te demonstreer dat Noorweë se rol as 'n tradisionele middelmoondheid – waardeur Noorweë poog om 'n altruïstiese persepsie van die staat uit te dra – onderskryf word deur 'n dieper nasionale selfbelang. Tweedens sal hierdie studie die teoretiese begronding van OfD bevraagteken, en derdens poog om te identifiseer wie deur die OfD program ondersteun word. Laastens sal die tesis bevraagteken of Noorweë volhoubare ontwikkeling in Angola bevorder, en eerder bydra tot die instandhouding van die status quo, waaruit Noorweë as 'n middelmoondheid voordeel trek. Die studie sal illustreer dat Noorweë, as ‘n middelmoondheid, nie die kapasiteit of die nasionale selfbelang het om fundamentele verandering in Angola te weeg te bring nie. Norweë se ondersteuning van die ‘good governance’ agenda, en oplossings wat deur die sogenaamde ‘hulpbronvloek’ tesis aangebied word, spreek die simptome van Angola se onder-ontwikkeldheid aan, eerder as die kernoorsake. OfD funksioneer op grond van ‘n staat-sentriese benadering, wat die politieke ekonomiese strukture in Angola aanvaar, en beperkte aandag aan globale strukture en die burgerlike samelewing gee. Hierdie tesis bied ‘n alternatiewe analise, wat wys hoe OfD eintlik ‘n neoliberale ontwikkelingsbenadering volg wat Noorweegse besigheids- en ontwikkelingsdoelwitte in dieselfde program inkorporeer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6815
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