Student Author(s)

Madison Smith, Hope College

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Virginia Beard, Political Science

Document Type


Event Date



Countries with an abundance of highly valued natural resources face the possibility of thriving or struggling due to the presence of such resources. This project examines the potential resource curse in sub-Saharan Africa. The research here will draw on previous insights on how resources affect economic and political development in Africa. I will consider how the availability of valuable resources affects political elites’ relationship with their citizens and why the impact of resources matters in a comparative perspective. Using data collection and research on the existence of the resource curse, I expect to find that the curse is real and effectively marginalizes many people groups from democratic participation and competition in countries across the continent. The resource curse carries significance because it helps to explain the political and economic realities found in sub-Saharan Africa.