HicksOilAbout the Author

Celeste Hicks is a freelance journalist who has lived and worked across the Sahel and Somalia, including two years as the BBC correspondent in Chad.

Power, Pipelines and Future Fortunes

In recent years, technological advances, higher commodity prices and an insatiable global thirst for energy have meant that African oil is increasingly in demand. Countries as far apart as Niger, Uganda, Chad, Ghana and Kenya are looking at the prospect of almost unimaginable flows of money into their national budgets.

But the story of African oil has usually been associated with conflict, corruption and disaster, with older producers such as Nigeria, Angola and Cameroon having little to show for the many billions of dollars they’ve earned. In this eye-opening book, former BBC correspondent Celeste Hicks questions the inevitability of the so-called ‘resource curse’, revealing what the discovery of oil means for ordinary Africans, and how China’s involvement threatens a profound change in Africa’s relationship with the West.

A much-needed account of an issue that will likely transform the fortunes of a number of African countries – for better or for worse.


‘The new oil scramble in Africa is a hugely important development topic, and while there is now a vast and sophisticated literature on the political economy of the ‘older’ petro-states across the continent (such as Nigeria, Angola, Algeria), there is no comparable analysis of the sort offered by Africa’s New Oil. This book combines well both ethnographic and lived experiences in the narrative as well as more policy inflected and academic debates.’
Michael J. Watts, author of Curse of the Black Gold

‘Through meticulous research, rigorous analysis and personable jargon-free language, Celeste Hicks lays bare one of the great development dilemmas of our time. Africa’s New Oil is a must-read for anybody who wishes to see the wealth from the continent’s natural resources fairly distributed, as well as being a practical handbook for those actively pressuring their governments to exploit those resources for the benefit of all.’
Pete Lewenstein, Author and former Deputy Editor at BBC African Service

‘A timely and deeply insightful look at the oil industry in Africa. Hicks aptly captures key policy decisions and outcomes from country to country, while highlighting the important contextual challenges that influenced these policy choices.’
Charles Wanguhu, coordinator, Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas

‘In this vivid account, Celeste Hicks clearly shows the complexities that are at the intersection of oil governance reform and the political realities of weak institutions, impunity, poor planning, conflict, corruption and entrenched elite interests. This is a must read for all people that are at the frontlines of working towards reforming the governance of mining, oil, gas resources and revenues.’
Gilbert Makore, Publish What You Pay Zimbabwe Coordinator