Answering Questions About the Commodity Slump: A Summary from the 2015 NRGI Conference

There has rarely been as large a commodity boom, with such resounding effects, as the one that has recently ended. Policy makers and commentators saw the boom as an opportunity to pull hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But, after the crash of commodity prices, one might ask whether this opportunity been largely missed. Policymakers and citizens of resource-rich countries should draw lessons from the experience and ascertain what risks and opportunities they now face in a period of depressed prices. To contribute to this thinking, NRGI gathered more than 180 experts for two days of discussion at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, in June 2015.

Key questions addressed in this conference summary paper include:

  • Were countries prepared for the bust?
  • Was a lack of accountability and transparency really to blame for countries’ poor resource governance efforts?
  • How can transparency be more useful?
  • Has the price slump closed the door on new investment?
  • Is there a “race to the bottom” to stem capital flight?
  • Can we turn the crisis into an opportunity?