The Gulf of Guinea, on Africa's Atlantic coast, supplies fifteen per cent of America's oil and has recently experienced an immense inflow of investment. But why are American, European, and Asian oil companies enthusiastically committing tens of billions of dollars of long-term investment to the Gulf of Guinea's failing states, which are characterized by ruthless elites, recurrent warfare, and some of the world's most detrimental development practices?

The answer is the Gulf's large petroleum reserves, which allow the elites of Angola, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria to reap the benefits of international investment and expertise regardless of their behavior. Their macabre partnership with importers, producers, and oil companies seems immune to the political tragedies festering across the Gulf of Guinea, where the state, while largely moribund, is kept from collapsing in order to keep oil flowing to its investors. Ricardo M. S. Soares de Oliveira analyzes the political economy of oil in this strategically vital region. He writes a conceptually sophisticated and empirically rich account of the Gulf's "successful failed states," providing insight on the peculiar political economy of oil and drawing a captivating portrait of the evils unleashed by the presence of petroleum.



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Professor Ricardo Soares De Oliveira
Columbia University Press