Between 2011 and 2013, sales of government oil from the ten biggest producers in sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 56% of these countries’ total public revenues. Despite their importance, however, such sales have received little political or academic attention until recently. Corruption risks associated with this phase of the commodity value chain are high due to the volumes of the financial transactions, the high degree of interaction with public authorities, the opacity of both the sales themselves and the actors involved, and a lack of regulation. Several case examples show that these risks are not merely theoretical. We summarise the state of research on this subject, paying special attention to buyers, whose responsibilities have been little discussed. We offer a typology of corruption risks in first sale trades of oil and minerals, and analyse existing measures to tackle them.
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