Questions about the effective use of natural resource revenues have in recent years become increasingly central to local and international efforts to address the problem of resource curse in Africa. The emerging and dominant perspective tends to emphasize the links between transparency and accountability. This approach has been instrumental to the opening of new spaces for stakeholder engagement in the bid to transform natural resource revenues into sustainable development benefits. However, despite its contribution, this transparency-accountability strategy is underpinned by a misdiagnosis of the governance failure complex in Africa. Consequently, the approach is unable to adequately facilitate the transformation of natural resource revenues into sustainable development benefits for Africans. Focusing largely on Nigeria, the paper suggests that the key to the effective use of natural resource revenue in Africa lies in addressing the structural inadequacies inherent in African state-nations and the systemic anomalies in its societies. This would require the pursuit of compatible cultural democracy, the strengthening of the technical and institutional capacities of institutions of checks and balances, the diversification of civil society strategies, an emphasis on macro- and microcorporate citizenship issues by transnational corporations, and the global regulations of their socioenvironmental impacts. The paper concludes by exploring the ramifications of its arguments for the resource curse literature.


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pp. 3-24
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