Crude Moves: Oil, Power, and Politics in Niger

Jannik Schritt, Nikolaus Schareika


In this article, we analyse the political and social process through which Niger has emerged as a new oil state since 2008. Instead of viewing the situation as a clear-cut resource-curse scenario, we see oil as an important, but by no means determining factor in the country’s current political workings. Analysing the main features and narratives of the Nigerien political game in this time of incipient oil production, we first of all observe how various political actors, including the government, political parties, civil society, and wealthy businesspeople, transform oil into a political resource by developing particular notions, images, and meanings of it, including scenarios of a resource curse or resource blessing. We thus argue that in the formative moment of Niger becoming a new oil state, oil appears as an idiom within which Niger’s current political and social processes are framed.

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