Resource Curse

AP Photo

Most people probably know little about the tiny South American nation of Guyana. In the U.S., it made headlines back in the late 1970s after an American cult leader named Jim Jones took his followers there – and more than 900 died in a murder-suicide after drinking poisoned Kool-Aid.

But recently Guyana has been in the news for more positive reasons. That’s because ExxonMobil has made one of the most promising offshore oil discoveries there in decades.

Yet the sudden discovery of all this cash under its seabed holds a lot of risk for Guyana. In some oil-rich countries like Angola and Nigeria, most of the population has gotten no real benefit from their country’s petroleum wealth. 

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at Guyana’s big find - and whether it can avoid the so-called “resource curse.” 


AP

At first glance, the small West African nation of Equatorial Guinea is doing well. Sandwiched between Cameroon and Gabon on the Gulf of Guinea, the oil-rich nation of 820,000 has a per capita GDP equivalent to that of the Czech Republic or Portugal. But the picture is more complicated than that.

Much of its population lives in conditions similar to that in the world’s poorest countries.

On this edition of Global Journalist a look inside Equatorial Guinea, where oil has enriched its leaders but not its people.