1st Edition

Oiling the Urban Economy Land, Labour, Capital, and the State in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana

By Franklin Obeng-Odoom Copyright 2014
    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents a critical analysis of the ‘resource curse’ doctrine and a review of the international evidence on oil and urban development to examine the role of oil on property development and rights in West Africa’s new oil metropolis - Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana. It seeks answers to the following questions: In what ways did the city come into existence? What changes to property rights are oil prospecting, explorations, and production introducing in the 21st century? How do the effects vary across different social classes and spectrums? To what extent are local and national institutions able to shape, restrain, and constrain trans-national oil-related accumulation and its effects on property in land, property in housing (residential, leisure, and commercial), and property in labour? How do these processes connect with the entire urban system in Ghana?

    This book shows how institutions of varying degrees of power interact to govern land, housing, and labour in the city, and analyses how efficient, sustainable, and equitable the outcomes of these interactions are. It is a comprehensive account of the tensions and contradictions in the main sectors of the urban economy, society, and environment in the booming Oil City and will be of interest to urban economists, development economists, real estate economists, Africanists and urbanists.

    PART 1 The Economics of ‘Black Gold’   1. Africa’s Oil Wealth and Crude interpretations of its Ramifications   2. Oil in Orthodox Theory - Repudiation and Riposte   3. Ghana’s Oil Industry   PART 2 From Fishing Settlement to Oil City   4. Sekondi-Takoradi: The City and Its History   5. Urban Economic Development Under Oil   6. Fishers and Farmers in a Changing City   PART 3 Towards the Good City   7. Compensation and Betterment   8. Taxation   9. Socialisation of Oil Rents   10. Sekondi-Takoradi: Challenges, Prospects, and Lessons


    Dr. Franklin Obeng-Odoom is an urban researcher currently based at the School of the Built Environment at the University of Technology, Sydney in Australia where he is the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

    "A well-written book that analyses oil cities and their potential development impacts from a heterodox perspective. Obeng-Odoom focuses on the small and unknown twin-city of Sekondi-Takoradi to elicit how geologic resources, such as oil and gas, contribute the fiscal resources for social and economic change in new oil cities. This central argument is couched within the context of how human agency, in the form of unions, ensures a fairer distribution of the outcomes of development. This book is a must-read for intellectuals interested in how urban and rural development in the global periphery are grounded in alternative political-economic and ecological frameworks." – Ian E.A. Yeboah, Professor of Geography, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA

    "This is a penetrating analysis of how a fortuitous resource endowment impacts on a developing economy. It shows that having oil resources creates major tensions - social, environmental and political - as well as potential economic benefits. Obeng-Odoom's book carefully reviews the evidence, drawing on useful currents of political economic analysis. It also proposes policies that could yield better outcomes. The book is warmly recommended to all who want to learn the lessons from the Ghanaian experience." – Frank Stilwell, Professor Emeritus in Political Economy, The University of Sydney, Australia

    "Overall, Oiling the Urban Economy offers a wealth of valuable documentation and a highly coherent and cogent assessment of the Ghanaian ‘black gold coast’ experience. Its contents are illuminating for populations in many African countries anticipating the windfall gains of offshore oil wealth. It is a ‘must read’ for those who care about better, equitable outcomes for African urban economies under oil’s enticing but often deviant sway." – Deborah Fahy Bryceson, African Review of Economics and Finance 

    "Oiling the Urban Economy is an important contribution to the debates surrounding the ‘resource curse’ thesis. It poses important questions about the limits of resource rent taxation in relation to broader issues of social development, class struggle and environmental degradation. One need not have a specific interest in the political economy of Ghana to read this book. Its insights are relevant to any country with bountiful natural resources, states unable to capitalise on them and parasitic compradors mediating exploitation." – Joe Collins, Journal of Australian Political Economy

    "Oiling the Urban Economy is an eye-opener for scholars interested in the ‘resource curse’, an issue that has dominated discussions on Ghana’s oil industry and other resource-rich countries in Africa for decades. It most importantly portrays each region or country that discovers a natural resource as unique, and therefore contesting that it is deceptive to expect either a blessing or curse, as advanced by the ‘resource curse’ thesis. The urban dimension of the political economy of oil explored in this book brings to the fore the difficulties suffered by the poor in society which macro-level analysis often fails to highlight. It is this reason that I recommend this book to students studying the political economy of oil. I also recommend it to policy makers, since it includes practical measures that could be adopted to ensure that more oil revenue accrues to the state, and that proceeds are used more equitably." – The Extractive Industries and Society, Amewu Attah, Cardiff University, United Kingdom

    "The book is written in a clear, concise language and contains a lot of empirical material that should be of interest to any social scientist with interest in the city of Sekondi-Takoradi." – UrbanAfrica.Net, Paul W.K. Yankson, University of Ghana

    "The arrival of this book is very refreshing for Ghana’s infant oil economy as it presents a balanced exposition of oil and urban development that causes us to reengage with and rethink the oil–development discourse. Undoubtedly, this book will appeal to both an academic and a general audience, and it is highly recommended." – Africa, Augustina Adusah-Karikari, University of Birmingham

    "Most certainly, Oiling the Urban Economy: Land, labour, capital, and the state in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana is a publication that can benefit university students as well as researchers and the general reader interested in Ghana’s new oil industry." – African and Asian Studies, Samuel K. Andoh, Southern Connecticut State University

    "Those interested in the intersection of natural resources, urbanisation, and development, especially in Ghana, will find Oiling the Economy captivating. My own impression is that Obeng-Odoom succeeds in amplifying marginalised voices in Sekondi-Takoradi, which have been eclipsed by Ghana’s fast-growing oil industry." – Nelson Oppong, Africa Spectrum

    "This book is a welcome critique of the "resource curse" doctrine, which is used in mainstream scholarship to deliberately divert attention from the real cause of the underdevelopment problems experienced by oil-endowed countries in the periphery of the global capitalist economy… The book shows that while oil, a fortuitous resource, may have potential benefits, it can also create several socio-economic and political tensions in the peripheral location of that resource. And, for a book on the political economy of oil in a peripheral capitalist formation, it is unique in its particular focus, which is the role of oil in property development and rights in West Africa’s new "oil-city" of Sekondi-Takoradi… Intellectuals, policy makers, researchers, and, especially, graduate students, who are interested in studying how a fortuitous resource impacts on urban and rural development in the periphery of the global capitalist economy, will find both the analysis in all the ten chapters and the 30-page bibliography in this book very useful." – Review of Radical Political Economics, Chibuzo N. Nwoke, Oduduwa University, Nigeria

    "[R]eaders will be confronted with a fascinating analysis of oil economics that makes a useful contribution to our understanding of the early stages of oil politics in Ghana, oil and development in Ghana, and more generally the political economy of (oil in) Ghana." – Australasian Review of African Studies, Thomas Antwi Bosiakoh, Macquarie University