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Key needs for Africa’s oil producers

Marketplace Staff Aug 10, 2009
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Key needs for Africa’s oil producers

Marketplace Staff Aug 10, 2009
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Bill Radke: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves Angola today, where she called for more accountability and transparency in Angola’s petroleum industry. After visiting Congo today, Clinton goes to another oil-rich country, Nigeria. On the line with us is Phillip Walker, senior editor with the Economist Intelligence Unit. Good morning.

Phillip Walker: Hello.

Radke: When the secretary of state was in Angola, we heard so much about competition with China for that oil. How does the situation in Nigeria compare?

Walker: It’s broadly similar. I mean America is the dominant destination for Nigerian oil. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. However, Asian companies and Russian companies as well are expanding their interests in Nigeria.

Radke: What issue do you think is key about developing relations between the U.S. and these African oil producers?

Walker: I think it’s interesting now that the countries in question — and Nigeria in particular — are keen to see the oil companies operating there developing local infrastructure, at the same time as you know developing the oil infrastructure. Obviously there’s been historically a great deal of underdevelopment in these very impoverished regions, so I think encouraging the twin roles of kind of the oil companies to act more responsibly in terms of their relations with the local populations I think will be real interesting going forward.

Radke: Is there a new chapter opening up in local infrastructure in these African oil producers? This has been a lament for so long that that hasn’t been happening.

Walker: Well I meaning Nigeria specifically, at the moment, the Nigerian government there has been doing its utmost to kind of restructure how the oil industry works. Obviously there’s been tremendous problems throughout the kind of development of the oil industry, which has left many millions in the local population highly resentful of foreign oil companies and foreign governments with respect to resources they see as belonging to them. So I think it’s definitely going to have to change direction to be kind of an end to the violence and the troubles in the oil-producing regions.

Radke: Phillip Walker, senior editor with the Economist Intelligence Unit. Thank you for your time.

Walker: Thank you very much.

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