Research Areas

Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment (NREE)

Natural resource wealth can be harnessed to drive economic growth and development. However, many resource-rich countries in Africa have grappled with the so-called ‘natural resource curse’; characterised by slow economic growth, resource-driven conflict, deindustrialisation and the entrenchment of rentier states. The Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment (NREE) research area will examine critical issues in the areas of natural resource governance, agrarian policy, energy efficiency and geopolitics, environmental management and climate change. The NREE programme is comprised of five research components:


Agrarian Policy

Given its rich arable land and natural endowments, agriculture can be a growth engine in Africa. Conversely, agrarian reforms have been undermined by weaknesses in land tenure and property rights systems. The growing evidence on the acquisition of arable land (termed ‘land grabs’) by foreign investors also raises implications for food security and poverty reduction on the continent. The NREE programme will examine existing approaches to land tenure reform and agrarian change, and the economic and social implications of land grabs in Africa.


Natural Resource Governance

The NREE research programme will investigate the growing role of the private sector in natural resource governance, and the implications of emerging transnational natural resource governance initiatives for Africa’s extractive sector. Lastly, the research will focus on strategies for natural resource revenue management, including the management of resource booms, revenue management in oil-producing countries, and policies to improve resource revenue transparency in Africa.


Climate Change and the Environment

Natural resource extraction generates adverse environmental and climactic impacts, which have fundamental implications for African societies and economies. The NREE programme will conduct research on energy efficiency and economic growth, as well as modelling the environmental impacts of climate change, designing appropriate environmental management strategies and the role of social and institutional factors in climate change adaptation in Africa


Energy Geopolitics

The global energy landscape is driven by geopolitical interests, which influence Africa’s bargaining power in the international arena. However, the framework of energy geopolitics is rapidly changing, with the emergence of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs) as major geopolitical players, and other structural shifts. This calls for appropriate responses from the African countries to safeguard their long-term interests. CSEA’s research will analyse the new global political economy of energy, as well as the changing fundamentals in global energy markets.


Oil and Gas Governance in Nigeria

Nigeria’s oil and gas sector is the mainstay of the economy, and a major source of foreign direct investment. However, regulatory reform has been hampered by vested interests and structural factors. The NREE research area will specifically focus on Nigeria’s experience with oil and gas reform, by analysing the fiscal and macroeconomic implications of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The research will further analyse innovative approaches to managing local impacts of oil and gas extraction in the oil-rich Niger Delta, such as Impact and Beneficiation Agreements, Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and public-private-donor partnerships.