Queen’s Political Studies Grad Student Wins Research Grant

| 2012/06/07

W. R. Nadège Compaoré plans to spend her summer in Ghana collecting data on transparency measures in the country’s extractive energy sector — oil in particular. She is one of 10 Canadian graduate students to receive a research grant from the international Africa Initiative program.

“The program offers me a rare privilege to engage with resources that are only available in the field,” says Ms Compaoré, a doctoral candidate in Political Studies at Queen’s University. “I will go to Ghana to interview corporate officials, government officials, civil society members, and collect textual data, like contract agreements, which you cannot access outside the continent.”

She will also meet and exchange ideas with African-based scholars, civil society organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

Ms Compaoré’s main research interests are in international relations and political economy as well as African politics and North-South relations more generally. They come together in her examination of the recent Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and its impact on African countries with new petroleum resources. So far the EITI has been praised, but its long-term impact as a global policy mechanism is still unknown.

Ms Compaoré will examine how and why governments, the corporate sector, and civil society have responded to the EITI, an international standard for transparency in oil, gas and mining. She wants to assess the implications of the EITI vis-à-vis corruption in host governments and examine whether compliance to the EITI has changed how corporations extract resources abroad, or simply produced new rhetoric.

She will also consider the role of home governments — the governments in Western countries where many oil corporations come from — in the EITI’s effectiveness so far. Ms Compaoré believes that any evaluation of the EITI and changes to it need to take into account all the structural factors surrounding resource extraction.

“I am very grateful for this recognition. It is a special opportunity because it allows me to explore some of the issues that led me to pursue a PhD in political studies, mainly the complex global mechanisms that connect the African continent to the rest of the world and that ultimately contribute to shaping the welfare of individuals in various African countries,” says Ms Compaoré.

She will spend some of her time with Ghana Telecom University College’s Oil and Gas Management program and at the University of Ghana, Legon.

The Africa Initiative (AI) is a collaborative, donor-funded program between the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Makerere University, and the South African Institute for International Affairs (SAIIA).

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Release source: Queen’s University News Centre

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