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Title: Investing in ghosts : building and construction in Nigeria's oil boom and bust c.1960-2000
Author: Marwah, Hanaan
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has been portrayed in scholarly literature as a prominent case of postcolonial African ‘growth failure’. Between 1960 and 2000 oil reserves were exploited resulting in revenues of more than $300 billion to the Nigerian government, while real per capita income fell over the same period. This thesis, by focusing on building and construction in Nigeria from 1960 to 2000, explains how and why Nigeria failed to invest its oil revenues to create long-term economic growth. Its findings have important implications for investment analyses of other commodity-rich countries in Africa and across the developing world. It draws on a wide range of primary quantitative and qualitative sources including government surveys, construction-related company financial data and project lists, industry publications, newspapers, and the correspondence files of a major Nigerian architecture firm. These are used to present a picture of historical building activity which includes a 40-year dataset of cement price and consumption, and a construction supply curve for both the oil boom and bust periods. By quantifying for the first time the long-observed ‘ghost construction’ of the oil boom, this thesis finds that annually about two thirds of what scholars and national accounts statistics had estimated was being invested in construction was never actually invested, implying that what was invested offered a greater return than has previously been acknowledged. Although investment in construction was overstated during the oil boom, during the oil bust construction was understated as major government projects were funded off-budget and away from public scrutiny. This thesis demonstrates that the most productive area of public investment has been infrastructure, and further that the private sector construction industry was a valuable asset which greatly enhanced the government’s ability to implement investment programmes, when it had the political will to do so.
Supervisor: Deutsch, Jan-Georg; Collier, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Economic and Social History ; History of Africa ; Africa ; Economic history ; Investment ; Fixed Capital ; Construction ; Nigeria ; Oil Boom ; Resource Curse ; Corruption ; Infrastructure