Briefing from ROAPE Volume 5 Number 13
Oil Boom & Crisis in Contemporary Nigeria
The formal independence accorded to colony after colony in Africa, Asia and the Americas was followed by an ever-louder chorus of pain and disillusionment from the ‘new nations’ whose diplomats cried, apparently in vain, against the terms of trade which appeared to go ever more sharply against the primary product exports on which their economies depended. The wail of despair was, however, cut short in 1973 when the prices of many mineral and agricultural commodities rose dramatically. Most spectacular was the tripling of petroleum prices. The Western press began to speak in flattering tones of the fabulous wealth of the oil-rich nations. Glossy supplements sang the praises of investing in them and commented respectfully on national plans that aimed at industrialisation and ‘development’ sparked by the oil export boom. Where there had been a uniform ‘Third World’ , distinctions were now drawn between the interesting prospects of the oil producers and an oil-consuming ‘Fourth World’ , still beset with the overwhelming problems of ‘underdevelopment’ . Even radical scholars, who had focused their attention on the process of deterioration of terms of trade, were caught short-handed and began to re-assess the problems of poverty and dependence in the capitalist world.