Yan Naung Oak is a 2017 School of Data fellow for NRGI Myanmar working on data literacy and data availability in the jade mining sector. Last year, he participated in NRGI's massive online open course, Natural Resources for Sustainable Development: The Fundamentals of Oil, Gas, and Mining Governance. These are his takeaways.
Resource-rich countries tend to experience slower economic growth and more social problems than do less-endowed countries—a phenomenon dubbed the “resource curse.” But it turns out that in many cases, economic growth begins to underperform long before the first drop of oil is produced; this we call the “presource curse.”
Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) can be effective tools for managing natural resource revenues. However, as their numbers continue to grow, with the largest funds managing hundreds of billions or even a trillion dollars in assets, researchers are paying more attention to how well these funds are governed.
A 10-year boom in the prices of many commodities drew to a close last year. During previous booms, governments in developing countries have often squandered wealth accumulated through oil, gas and minerals, directing little of the proceeds toward effective investment or saving. When boom turned to bust, resource-rich countries were caught out, forced into debt spirals.