New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Francis N. Botchway
Chapter 7: Fiscal Regimes for Natural Resource Extraction: Implications for Africa’s Development
* Evaristus Oshionebo INTRODUCTION 1 The ownership of natural resources is usually vested in the national governments of African countries. For example, in Nigeria ‘the entire property in and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in, under or upon any land in Nigeria or in, under or upon the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria shall vest in the Government of the Federation.’1 Similarly, in Ghana ‘[e]very mineral in its natural state in, under or upon land in Ghana, rivers, streams, water-courses throughout the country, the exclusive economic zone and an area covered by the territorial sea or continental shelf is the property of the Republic and is vested in the President in trust for the people of Ghana.’2 And in South Africa, ‘mineral and petroleum resources are the common heritage of all the people of South Africa and the State is the custodian thereof for the benefit of all South Africans.’3 The vesting of ownership of natural resources in the national governments of African countries is significant in several ways. First, those who wish to exploit Africa’s natural resources must enter into legal or contractual relationships with African governments as a precondition to the exploration and extraction of resources. These relationships usually manifest in the form of concessions, including licences and leases, granted by governments to resource extraction companies.4 Secondly, the national governments set the legal and fiscal frameworks for resource extraction in Africa. However, because of the political and legal uncertainties and...
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