While natural resource wealth can potentially contribute to development outcomes, many resource-rich countries are plagued with unsustainability, conflicts, dysfunctional institutions, poor governance, corruption and weak economic performance. Transparency of natural resource management, through initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), has been promoted as a means to increase accountability and address this “resource curse”.
While progress has been made in terms of revenue and contract transparency, the impact of such approaches on increased accountability remain largely unknown. Without strong regulatory frameworks and competent institutions, transparency alone is unlikely to achieve sustainable development outcomes. Flexible, collaborative and adaptive management practices anchored in a solid understanding of the political economy is also needed to adapt to the changing circumstances of the local context. Sound and sustainable fiscal regimes and a leadership committed to the use of revenues for the benefit of all is also key to translate resource wealth into sustainable development outcomes.