ANALYSIS-Ghana not safe from the oil curse yet

Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:03am GMT

* Delays, questions over oil revenue management bill

* No Niger Delta strife seen - but tensions could emerge

* But oil not seen undermining cocoa and gold wealth

By Mark John

DAKAR, Dec 15 (Reuters) - With one of the strongest democracies in Africa and an economy bolstered by gold and cocoa income, Ghana is better placed than most to ensure the blessing of oil does not become a curse.

But as the West African nation joins the ranks of the world's oil exporters on Wednesday, concerns persist that it has not quite done enough to immunise itself from nasty side-effects.

"This is probably the best time in Ghana's post-independence history for it to get hold of an asset of this nature," Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi of Ghana's Centre for Democratic Development said of a stability fostered by nearly two decades of multi-party politics.

"But that is where it ends. From where I stand the rest is indeed worrying," he said of still-unanswered questions over how President John Atta Mills' government will ensure the money is used to the best advantage of the nation of 23 million.   Continued...

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