1. Modes of central governance and finance
Oil revenues significantly increase the national budget available to the governments of Niger and Chad, and thereby their scope of action. Therefore, the research lays one focus on governance and the financial sector. Special emphasis will be on key actors and administrative structures in the ministry of mining and their dynamic processes of change induced by oil production.
2. Local governance
A fixed part of the oil revenues goes to local communities in the oil region, intended to further development (15% of oil revenues in Niger for communities in the Diffa region and 5% for the oil region around Doba in southern Chad). Against this background new actors and also new conflicts are expected to emerge in which positions of authority and local power, political ideologies and interests are negotiated. In all probability, these conflicts will bear directly and indirectly on the day-to-day practices of local governance (i.e. the allocation of public goods and services). The objective is an ethnographically rich comparative analysis of local power structures, expectations and significations in relation to oil production in Niger and Chad.
Experience from other petro-states has shown that oil production can trigger resistance and (military) rebellion organized along both local and global structures. This is true for Niger and Chad as well. One focus of the research project will therefore concentrate on conflict and forms of resistance and rebellion against the state and multinational or national oil companies respectively, caused or aggravated by oil production.
4. Emerging oil zone working relations and cultures
Beginning with the construction phase of oil wells, pipelines and refineries as well as supportive infrastructures like airports, water supply, schools, hospitals or tree nurseries etc., new possibilities of employment are not only created, but they generate expectations and hopes, attract migrant workers and service providers and thus lead to the formation of communities in newly devised social structures. This part of the research project will look at the socio-cultural background of workers and migrants, their expectations and perceptions in relation to their future in the oil zone and their ways of handling relations and conflicts with each other and with their employers. The project will also analyze how social institutions like family, inheritance, age groups, gender, education and marriage change, particularly with the inflow of oil-money.
5. Transformations of rural livelihoods
Oil production, transport, and refining do not happen in deserted spaces, but affect various groups of people living in these areas (nomadic herders, farmers), whose ecological, economical and social environment changes with drilling of oil wells and the construction of oil production plants. People in rural zones are typically exposed to phenomena like land grabbing, conflicts over compensation payments, environmental pollution, rising prices, the arrival of new groups of actors (wage workers, traders), or new market possibilities. This sub-theme takes a look at the rural situation, the changes in the population’s social and political environment and the resulting competition for power and regional influence.