Governing Angola's oil sector
: the illusion of revenue transparency?

  • Liliane Chantal Mouan

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    How has oil revenue transparency been institutionalised in the developing world, why and to what effects? And what explains the outcomes of such processes? These are the main questions this dissertation will seek to answer using as a case study Angola, Africa’s second largest oil producer and a key case at the centre of global demands for oil revenue transparency in the sub-region. Previously a poster child of the “resource curse” and reluctant to abide by Western pressures to reform, Angola has recently implemented a series of initiatives amongst which many that have been acclaimed by its international partners. In spite of this, sceptics regard the country’s elites as having “anti-reformist” attitudes and implementing reforms merely in a piecemeal manner just so as to disguise the true nature of the regime and get off the hook of Western campaigners. They frame their critique of transparency practices around information discrepancies and corruption scandals, arguing that many of these regulatory efforts have had anti-developmental effects and in fact produced other types of opacity in the Angolan oil industry and beyond.

    Drawing from key case study analysis, conference notes and over 100 interviews with key stakeholders, this thesis will examine the key features, drivers and consequences of Angola’s reform agenda. It finds that while there is indeed some evidence pointing towards the legitimisation of corruption in the oil industry, one needs to go beyond both information availability and corruption scandals to understand this Angolan paradox, and arguably, the diffusion process of the emerging global norm of oil revenue transparency in developing countries. Specifically, the thesis shows how competing normative and material rationales, external actors’ legitimacy shortfalls and oil’s materiality combined to shape not only the design but also the implementation and effects of oil revenue transparency policies. Its conclusions warn against an overreliance on imported models for solving complex governance challenges such as resource-related corruption in Africa.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SponsorsCoventry University & Funds for Women Graduates
    SupervisorAlan Hunter (Supervisor), Malcolm McIntosh (Supervisor), Mark Swilling (Supervisor) & Ralph Hamann (Supervisor)

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