The Oil, A Curse Or A Bless­ing?

The Kurdish Globe - - EDITORIAL -

aside, I vi­sion long-term de­pen­dency on oil re­serves as doom­ing and dan­ger­ous. Noth­ing lasts for­ever, cer­tainly not oil. The cur­rent pic­ture of the Mid­dle East and North Africa is painted as fol­lows, the area rep­re­sents only 6 per cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion but with 66 per cent of the world oil re­serves the re­gion is with­out doubt oc­cu­py­ing a cen­tral po­si­tion in the geopol­i­tics of en­ergy. With such large oil rev­enues at hand you would think poverty and a poorly devel­oped in­fra­struc­ture and gov­ern­men­tal sys­tems would be the least of all prob­lems. The re­gion is a cock­tail of ten­sion, po­lit­i­cal in­se­cu­rity and of course en­ergy in­sta­bil­ity. The his­tory of eco­nomic de­pen­dency solely on oil is al­ready a black one. As wit­nessed in many Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries and also African ones such as Nigeria, oil has gen­er­ated ex­treme po­lit­i­cal and so­cial in­sta­bil­ity and in­sti­tu­tional col­lapse. It is there­fore vi­tal that from an early stage the Kur­dish government starts to think strate­gi­cally for the fu­ture of our econ­omy and en­ergy se­cu­rity. We are al­ready a re­gion sit­u­ated in a mo­saic of trou­ble, de­pend­ing and in­vest­ing ex­ten­sively and en­tirely on oil may look promis­ing for to­day, but there are two ma­jor fac­tors at stake. Firstly war and ten­sion can erupt at any time, and se­condly, the way we pump mil­lions of bar­rels a day can only take us 30 more years be­fore we dry out the soil for pre­cious liq­uid sub­stance.

An in­sight into the fu­ture and re­al­ity can hit us hard, in other words as the econ­o­mists would re­fer to it we are in a ‘re­source curse’, a strate­gic shift to di­ver­si­fy­ing our in­vest­ment pat­terns as well as our econ­omy will go a long way in­deed. Re­search con­ducted by the Hu­man De- vel­op­ment In­dex (HDI) re­vealed that Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC) coun­tries who rely heav­ily on oil re­sources (or at least have for many decades), are sig­nif­i­cantly poor per­form­ers in so­cial poli­cies such as health and ed­u­ca­tion sec­tors com­pared to their eco­nomic pros­per­ity.

The over re­liance on pe­tro­leum can only take us a few decades ahead, for the rest of the time there­after we are on our own. For the sake of our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren it re­mains the government’s duty to be the game changer. Push­ing for en­trepreneur­ship and train­ing younger gen­er­a­tion to be fu­ture pro­fes­sion­als, and en­cour­ag­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion through greater eco­nomic sup­port. In­no­va­tion should be the new preser­va­tion, en­sur­ing eco­nom­i­cal pros­per­ity and se­cu­rity for gen­er­a­tions to come.

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