Over the next five years, the Norwegian government will give around £21.5 million (NOK 250 million) to help poor nations avoid internal struggles over oil. The initiative 'Oil for Development' was launched in 2005 and aims to help developing nations better manage their oil resources.
São Tomé is one of the countries that have requested advice from Norwegian experts. In July 2005 they contacted Norwegian authorities for advice on how a small country can manage large oil resources to the advantage of their people, writes the paper Bistandsaktuelt. In light of the recurrent struggles in poor countries with comprehensive natural resources, the risk of conflict is high.
The exchange between Norway and São Tomé has started with delegations to both countries. A seminar on good management and anti-corruption work in São Tomé was held in October 2005, and a broadened cooperative platform as part of the 'Oil for Development' program will be considered soon.
"Norway is one the most transparent countries when it comes to oil, and we wish to take a look at the Norwegian experiences with the allocation of the oil wealth. We need to strengthen our capacity and knowledge, both in terms of finance management and of technical expertise," said Luis Prazeres, head of São Tomé's oil directory and central in the Norwegian exchange process, to Bistandsaktuelt.
'Oil for Development' was launched in September 2005 and is a cooperative effort between Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the Ministry of Finance and parts of the oil sector in Norway. Starting in 2006, an additional £4.3million (NOK 50 million) will be allocated yearly for next five years to the initiative. The program is based on the exchange of Norwegian oil expertise and experiences in order to help developing countries manage their own resources.