'Never give away control' to the private sector, expert tells resource-rich nations

Einar Steensnaes, co-founder of Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, tells resource-rich nations ‘never give away control’ to the private sector.

For sound management of natural resources in developing countries, private sector participation is of course crucial, but only if governments maintain full control of the resources, according to an expert in the sector.

“Never give away control, [keep] 100 percent control,” Einar Stensnaes, co-founder of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, told Devex Associate Editor Richard Jones in this video interview on the sidelines of the Annual Democracy Forum 2014 co-hosted by the government of Botswana and International IDEA in Gaborone, Botswana.

Before inviting the private sector to invest, he added, adequate legislation must be in place for companies to know they will get their business — but will not be able to wrest control away from the government.

Click on the above clip to learn more insights from Steensnaes on Norway’s own experience with this after the country first discovered offshore oil in 1969.

#DemocracyMatters is a three-week series exploring the intersection of democracy, development and natural resources management in partnership with International IDEA, the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

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About the author

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    Carlos Santamaria

    Carlos is a former associate editor for breaking news in Devex's Manila-based news team. He joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE ,and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York, and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.

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