Emory International Law Review


Eli G. Burton


The continent of Africa is one of economic paradox: Abundant natural resources lie within many of the states, yet despite their mineral wealth, these same states exhibit low levels of development and a poor standard of living. Resources that seemingly should benefit African states have instead been the impetus for their stagnant development. Historically, the beneficiaries of these vast mineral deposits have not been the African populations but rather foreigners such as the colonial powers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, exploitative corporations during the post-WWII neocolonial era, and opportunistic military strongmen involved in Africa's civil and crossborder wars. The revenue that these resource caches produce is more often than not funneled to external entities, such as an international corporation or a few elites within a state. This phenomenon is generally known as the Resource Curse.