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Ishac: Thanks for your comment. Of course these countries need infrastructure, but the question is why oil-rich countries like Nigeria and Cameroon have not been able to use the oil money to build infrastructure. The reason is that these funds have been diverted to other uses, mainly consumption, and mainly related to political patronage. For a "good state" to "emerge", there must be a mechanism where the preferences of the citizens (which would be for infrastructure) get translated into actual outcomes. That is what the increased scrutiny of public spending brought on by direct distribution of revenues can foster. Also, taxation is inefficient, but it's hardly "one of the most inefficient functions in poor states" when you consider how public monies are spent (think of the white elephants across the country). Shanta