Belize is the newest exporter of oil to the United States, a development that is starting to upend this small country of 280,000 people… [Despite] the formation in December of a government petroleum advisory board, there is considerable skepticism throughout Belize that the country can develop its oil resources without the corruption and environmental damage that afflict other poor oil-producing countries.
For the Iraqi-born used car dealer Tareq El-Khaled, the fire spelled financial ruin: The seven cars represented his entire capital. And Tareq thinks he knows who the perpetrators were. A group of Chechens had dropped by his dealership that same afternoon, but had been unhappy with the deal Tareq was offering. They had made an offer, but it was less than Tareq himself had shelled out for the car in question. He put the kibosh on the deal and the men left the lot, screaming wild threats at the dealer.
A new note by Robert Bacon and Silvana Tordo on the special challenges of managing resource rents in postconflict countries:
Many public policies move in and out of fashion, but few have shifted in pendulum-like manner to the extent of privatization.
For more, see John Nellis’ new paper on ‘Privatization in Developing Countries: A Summary Assessment’:
Conflict over resources is inherent in political life. The difference between regimes lies in how such conflicts are handled – by repression under autocracy, by civil war under anarchy and by agreed rules under democracy. Democracy is civilised political struggle. That is what makes it both so attractive and so fragile.
Fitch Ratings invites you to their January 26 Sovereign Hotspots conference in New York. The focus will be on Latin America, Turkey, Russia & CIS and Latin American Energy. And its free.
Juan Ferrero's article in today's New York Times discusses the poor results of water privatization and nationalization in Bolivia, as well as the country's turbid future as it struggles to reform.