It is commonly agreed that one of the avenues for getting many of the poorest countries out of the low income trap is to provide them with a big demand push that will generate enough demand complementarities to expand the size of markets and recover the fixed costs of industrialization. Natural resource wealth could be used to pursue this goal. Unfortunately, in many low income countries, natural resource booms have only to a limited extent set off a dynamic growth process. This is largely due to failure to implement the right growth promotion policies and to ensure that strong institutions are in place — suggesting that it is very difficult to make the big push towards diversification and development of manufacturing in the resource-rich parts of the world. For instance, much of Africa is not industrialized and is stagnating in a staple trap, dependent on exports of a few mineral resources. In particular, oil resources and other point resource-dependency could, with the wrong policies, lead to this scenario. The script of Africa is repeated elsewhere in the world.
Taking the case of Africa, the continent is blessed with vast natural resources. In 2012, natural resources accounted for 77% of total exports and 42% of government revenues. This depicts that exploitation of Africa’s natural resources has a leading role to play in the development of the continent and in building strong societies. However, it has been repeatedly noted that while the abundant natural resource base is a blessing to Africa, in the same breath it has also been a curse being identified as the main source of conflict in the region. There is strong evidence that resource abundance increases the 9 incidence of civil conflicts and wars and stimulates violence, theft, looting, and fighting between rival groups. For example there is a large body of literature on the reasons why countries may suffer a “curse” rather than a “blessing” following large inflows of oil, gas, or mineral revenues. Some authors cite three exogenous causes: (1) structuralist policies, (2) Dutch Disease, and (3) export-based theory; and three endogenous causes: (1) policy failures, (2) inefficient investment, and (3) rent seeking.
Based on the foregoing, ELCI has curved a niche interest in developing and expanding a constituency comprising primarily of civil society organizations, and secondarily private sector organizations and government agencies, with capacity to mount programmes that will pursue and promote adoption of the green economy agenda and sustainable resource governance. This Strategic Plan adopts the UNEP definition of green economy as one that results in “improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities” (UNEP 2010).
Biodiversity and Natural Resources management project