Refereed Articles «Previous Next»

Betting on Oil: The World's Bank's Attempt to Promote Accountability in Chad

Matthew S. Winters, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
John A. Gould, Colorado College


ABSTRACT: Can international donors ensure that poor countries spend their natural resource revenues on development? We review the World Bank’s 14-year effort to guide such expenditure in Chad. The World Bank used its leverage as a gate keeper of private oil sector to write oil revenue restrictions into Chadian law. Chad also agreed to submit its expenditure to oversight by a new quasi-governmental institution. These efforts were not sufficient to overcome Chad’s poor governance and weak political accountability in the country. Despite the efforts made under the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline Project, little of Chad’s oil wealth has been spent on its poorest citizens. We argue that external efforts by international donors to build better governance in undemocratic states are unlikely to be overcome “resource curse” and “obsolescing bargain” dynamics. They may even do more harm than good. We recommend that the World Bank implement the 2003 Extractive Industry Review suggestion to cease investing in oil production. If the Bank does continue to lend to countries like Chad, it must ensure that it retains leverage across the life of the project to achieve its goals.

Suggested Citation

Matthew S. Winters and John A. Gould. "Betting on Oil: The World's Bank's Attempt to Promote Accountability in Chad" Global Governance 17.2 (2011).
Available at: