Oil Greases Nations' Slide into Poverty

Debts mount as nations export their resources

Published: 11-Aug-2003

Aug 10, 2003 (AP WorldStream via COMTEX) -- A series of recent studies say countries that depend solely upon the export of their natural resources eventually become poorer and generally more miserable than those that diversify their economies. Here are some dispatches from the embattled oil fields:

- VENEZUELA: Frustrations with deepening poverty exploded this year into a two-month general strike that crippled the economy. The world's fifth-largest producer has a 20 percent unemployment rate, record crime, rampant inflation and a $22 billion foreign debt.

- NIGERIA: Two decades of military governments took turns ousting one another in a grab to pocket oil revenues. This largely benefited elite members of ethnic groups in the north and further impoverished people in the south, where the oil fields are located. Nigeria and Venezuela's per capita incomes have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1950s.

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