Abstract

The seven countries in the group of oil-producing African countries together produced an average of 3.8 million barrels of oil per day in 2001, equivalent to 5 percent of world oil production. Their total production is projected to increase to an average of 5 million barrels per day by 2006. In the past, Nigeria, Angola, and Gabon were the three biggest oil producers in the region, but Gabon is projected to fall behind both Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo (see Figure 1 for an overview of oil production and exports in this group of countries between 1990 and 2006). Oil exports in the region totaled more than US$25 billion per year in the period 1997–2001 and are estimated to increase to $30 billion during 2002–06.

The seven countries in the group of oil-producing African countries together produced an average of 3.8 million barrels of oil per day in 2001, equivalent to 5 percent of world oil production. Their total production is projected to increase to an average of 5 million barrels per day by 2006. In the past, Nigeria, Angola, and Gabon were the three biggest oil producers in the region, but Gabon is projected to fall behind both Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo (see Figure 1 for an overview of oil production and exports in this group of countries between 1990 and 2006). Oil exports in the region totaled more than US$25 billion per year in the period 1997–2001 and are estimated to increase to $30 billion during 2002–06.

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Oil Production, Exports, and Government Revenue, 1990–2006

Sources: Country authorities; and IMF staff estimates.Note: Left-side vertical axes show thousand barrels per day; right-side show percent of GDP.

The countries show enormous differences in population size (Nigeria’s population of 130 million is 260 times that of Equatorial Guinea) and their degree of reliance on oil in terms of GDP (oil exports were valued at 96 percent of GDP in Equatorial Guinea and only 11 percent in Cameroon in 2001—see Figure 2, top panel). Yet in terms of administrative capacity, human resources, and living standards, the countries share many of the features of other developing countries.

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Oil Exports and Government Revenue, 2001

Sources: Country authorities; and IMF staff estimates.

Table 1 provides an overview of development performance for the countries in the group and compares this performance with indicators for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as a whole. In general, oil-producing countries in Africa have not achieved better social indicators than other African countries. In terms of per capita GDP, only Gabon and Equatorial Guinea rank significantly above the SSA average. Infant mortality in 2000 was higher in three countries in the group than in the SSA average. Only Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and Gabon reduced infant mortality rates below the SSA average. Life expectancy at birth was lower in the Republic of Congo than the average for sub-Saharan Africa and about the same as the average in Angola and Nigeria. Only in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon was it noticeably higher. Oil-producing countries also have not achieved higher literacy rates than SSA countries on average. The SSA oil-exporting countries have also performed worse than other oil-exporting countries. Table 2 shows that out of 32 oil-exporting countries worldwide, 6 of the 9 countries with the lowest human development indicators are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Table 1.

Oil-Producing Countries in Africa: Selected Economic Indicators, 1960–2000

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Sources: IMF, 2002, World Economic Outlook (WEO), Washington, and World Bank, 2002, World Development Indicators(WDI), Washington.

PPP refers to purchasing power parity.

Table 2.

Human Development Indices (HDI) for Oil-Producing Countries, 2001

article image
Source: United Nations Development Program (UNDP).Note: Sub-Saharan African oil-exporting countries are highlighted.

Governments in the group are highly dependent on oil revenue. On average, oil revenue constituted 68 percent of total government revenue in 2001, a share that is projected to decline slightly to 57 percent during 2002–06 (see Figure 3 for oil revenues in 2001). Government oil revenue amounted to 20 percent of the combined GDP of the region. All countries in the group with the exception of Cameroon and Chad depend heavily on oil revenue, with at least two-thirds of total government revenue coming from oil. Of the established oil producers, Cameroon has the most diversified revenue base, and the share of oil in total revenue is projected to decline from an average of 26 percent during 1997–2001 to 16 percent during 2002–06. Regarding taxation of the oil sector, the governments collected about 50 percent of the total export value of oil on average during 2001, ranging from 90 percent in Nigeria to 21 percent for Equatorial Guinea.1

Figure 3.
Figure 3.

Oil Revenues and Government Deficits, 2001

Sources: Country authorities; and IMF staff estimates.
Improving Petroleum Revenue Management in Sub-Saharan Africa
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