The world trade organisation (wto) and the organisation of petroleum exporting countries (opec) mandates: regulating production quotas, subsidies, and corruption in oil producing countries-an African perspective
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African countries are faced with the daunting task of providing a comprehensive regulatory framework for their natural resources. This is at both the international and domestic level. The statement is particularly true for emerging African oil producing countries. Related to the above, it can be argued that production quotas, subsidies, and corruption continue to hinder the full liberalisation of the oil sector globally, and in Africa. Also, these three areas are the genesis of some of the prominent issues in the discussions of trade in energy goods. Although Africa is substantially endowed with natural resources like crude oil, it remains at the bottom of the development pecking order; accordingly, it has to get centrally involved in the debate on the regulation of international trade in oil to encourage development and to benefit from the resource. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are the most relevant organisations in the collective regulation of production quotas, oil consumption subsidies and the control of corruption in the oil sector. Both organisations, directly for the former, and indirectly for the latter, deal with trade between nations. OPEC‘s mandate is established in the OPEC Statute, while the mandate of the WTO is found in various multilateral and plurilateral agreements. However, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (1994) (GATT), the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM), and the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) are the most relevant. The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is only discussed where relevant. This is because the treaty is based on the WTO framework. Also, several provisions in the WTO agreements are not fully discussed in the ECT. OPEC which deals with regulation of oil production and to some extent oil prices in member countries has an effect on trade of the commodity. The role of the WTO however, is more direct as it regulates international trade of various vi goods and services. Thus this thesis investigates how the above legal frameworks regulate production quotas, subsidies, and corruption in the oil sector. The results of the foregoing investigation are then applied to African countries, such as, Nigeria, Angola (members of both the WTO and OPEC) and Ghana, an emerging African oil producing country, to assess the impact of these international rules on the countries‘ legal regimes. Ghana has recently developed its crude oil sector. The success of the nascent oil sector of this country may depend on the conception or improvement of a comprehensive legal framework, to regulate international trade in oil. It is apparent that without an effective legal framework to regulate international trade in oil, the discovery of oil in Ghana, may not make any long term positive impact on the current economic conditions. Ghana is a member of the WTO; however, it is yet to join OPEC, despite growing debate on its membership in the organisation.
- Doctor Legum - LLD