Successful resource management is hard enough to do in wealthy and stable countries. Adding conflict and political volatility makes the challenge that much greater.
Representing a group of 19 conflictaffected states that mostly span Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands and comprised of more than 365 million people worldwide, the g7+ knows this reality too well. But as Timor-Leste’s example shows, effective resource management can be done.
“We are a resource rich nation. We just need to manage it.” Siafa Hage Advisor to Liberia’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs
Crucial to the mandate of the g7+ is to help conflict-affected states better leverage their natural resources to help build peace and stability. These countries recognize that good governance and good economics are inextricably linked, and the path to success involves taking ownership of the political mechanisms that will develop their economic base.
The g7+ countries represent a combined GDP of more than $123 billion, but that does not begin to take into account the true untapped potential of their natural and human resources.
Recent economic history confirms that resources are not a necessary or sufficient condition for success. Take Argentina at the turn of the last century. Argentina was the world’s 10th wealthiest nation per capita at the turn of the 20th century and blessed with natural resources. Yet, by the 1930s, the economy was on the brink of bankruptcy.
The United Arab Emirates tells a different story. The UAE recognized that its oil reserves would one day be exhausted and began to diversify its economy in the 1980s. Through its tourism and international finance sectors, the UAE has become a leading example of successful resource management and long-term economic diversification.
Leveraging these lessons, the g7+ countries are installing the proper oversight mechanisms to harness the natural resources that they ultimately hope will enhance good governance, attract international investment and benefit the local population.
“We are a resource rich nation,” said Siafa Hage, advisor to Liberia’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs. “We just need to manage it.”
Effective resource management has been at the heart of the g7+ since its inception. In 2010, when the group first convened in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, member countries focused on the goals they shared for their respective countries. These, shared and refined in other fora, have developed into what are now known as the Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs). The five PSGs are legitimate politics, security, justice, economic foundations and revenues and services. Since the creation of the g7+ in 2010, the group has steadily built upon the PSGs with the New Deal in Busan, South Korea, which further commits countries to take actions to develop their economies and assume control over their resources.
For more information or to view a video on the g7 plus, go to: http://www.g7plus.org.