New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Francis N. Botchway
Francis N. Botchway Africa has been the object of significant attention from important players in the natural resource business. As far back as the tenth century, Arab and African traders traded in gold and other resources.1 This attracted European countries to the sources of these important trade items. On establishing that present-day Ghana was one of the main sources of gold production and trade, the Portuguese named the place da mina.2 This was later changed to the Gold Coast by the British. Dutch, French, Scandinavian, German and other explorers followed on to the shores of South Africa, East and West Africa and elsewhere.3 Following periods of lull, interest in African resources heightened by the close of the nineteenth century. For example, from 1884 to 1901, more than 400 companies were listed on the London Stock Exchange to mine gold in the then Gold Coast.4 Foreign discoveries of diamond and other mineral resources in countries such as Botswana, Tanzania and Sierra Leone were much more recent, mainly in the post-Second World War period. The same can be said of the discovery and exploitation of fossil fuel resources. Shell d’Arcy discovered oil in commercial quantities in Nigeria in 1956. Oil was first discovered in Angola in 1955, but 1966 is seen as the watershed of Angola’s oil endowment with the discovery of the massive Cabinda reserves.5 In the last two decades, there has been increased exploratory activity on the African continent. In 1991, exploratory activity in Equatorial Guinea led to the commercial...