Oil Promises

DW Transtel | 2021
3 x 30 min

[a.k.a.] Oil Promises – Ghana Dreams of New Wealth or Oil Promises – Ghana’s Dream of Black Gold

In 2007, oil fever gripped Ghana after one of Africa’s largest oil fields was found off its coast. Hopes ran high that the newly discovered oil would boost the nation’s economy and benefit the population.

Oil, the lubricant of the global economy, was in short supply. It was widely believed that wherever new oil reserves are found, they come with a promise of financial security for the people of that nation.

When oil was found 65 kilometers off their coastline, Ghanaians immediately thought the same. The year 2007 marked a turning point for a nation in the grip of poverty. Drilling was set to begin in 2010. And it was said things were going to be managed better than in Nigeria, a country that extracts oil but has to import its fuel.

The documentary explores the impact of the new oil industry on a sleepy coastal region where most people earn a living through fishing or rubber cultivation. What would change? Would the oil turn out to be an opportunity for a region that had been underprivileged or a curse, as in the case of Nigeria? Filmmaker Elke Sasse spent more than a decade documenting developments in three small villages in Ghana. Nigerian artist Ebele Okoye, who also created the animations in this documentary, comments on the stories of local people from her own perspective.

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