Oil-rush, great recession, and ‘development’ implications for Africa: Possibilities, constraints, and contradictions of oil-driven industrialisation in Ghana
The oil peak and the 2007/2008 economic recession are the most recent major global events to destabilise the economies of African countries and to afflict the life chances and social (re) production of the subaltern classes. This paper critically analyses Ghana’s oil and gas industry to illustrate these issues. The paper argues that it is only through the transformation of their economies from commodities frontiers to industrialised economies that African states can minimise the negative impacts of the inherent, cyclical crises of the global capitalist economy on their economies and people. Taking a long, historical perspective of the exploitative insertion of Africa into the global capitalist economy as a commodities-frontier, the paper foregrounds the possibilities, constraints, and contradictions of oil-driven industrialisation of oil-rich African countries such as Ghana. It concludes that, while the Ghanaian state is capable, adept, and ruthless in inflicting the violence of primitive accumulation on its people, it paradoxically protects and enables global capital accumulation by implementing policies that defeat its own industrialisation vision of development.