Energy and Democracy: Oil and Water?

Monday, July 23, 2007
419 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC
Official Transcript: 
Hon. Alcee Hastings
Title Text: 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Hon. Ben Cardin
Title Text: 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Mr. Simon Taylor
Global Witness
Mr. Roman Kupchinsky
Regional Analyst
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

As the States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) pursue energy security, the Commission will address why it is that so many of the resource-rich countries in the world are not democratic and whether development of both democracy and energy resources is an incompatible goal.

Countries that are mired in corruption are not reliable sources of energy. According to Transparency International, six of the top ten oil-exporting countries to the United States are among the most corrupt countries in the world. A lack of transparency within governments and the energy sector poses both a threat to energy exports and the ability of governments to properly manage revenue for their citizens. These governments are not accountable to their citizens and have taken advantage of the resources of the nation in pursuit of the self-interest of a few corrupt leaders. The result has been increasing political instability.

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