COVID-19 and Corruption: What Cheap Oil Means for Corruption and Governance

6.3.2020, 9:00AM

This event is part of an ongoing series, COVID-19 and Corruption, organized by the Anti-Corruption & Governance Center.

About this Event

Demand for oil has plummeted following the global economic slowdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Governments dependent on oil are scrambling to manage health and economic crises without their dominant source of revenue. In many energy-rich authoritarian countries, this crisis is especially acute. With high rates of corruption that give pause to lenders and investors, such countries may prove more vulnerable to the economic downturn and the oil industry’s contraction than their democratic counterparts. More fundamentally, regimes are losing access to the funds that help sustain their hold on power, whether through populist spending or elite bargains.

Given this scenario, what are the implications of the Covid-19 crisis for kleptocrats and corrupt elites in petrostates from Africa to the Middle East and Eurasia? What will they do to stay in power at this precarious time? Are there opportunities for the global anti-corruption community to push for reforms? Or, is this a time of opportunity for corrupt actors to seek out new revenue streams while the world is distracted by a global health crisis?

Please join the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) for a discussion with experts as they provide answers to these pressing questions. Alexandra Gillies is an advisor at the Natural Resource Governance Institute leading the organization’s anti-corruption programs. Her book, Crude Intentions: How Oil Corruption Contaminates the World, was published by Oxford University Press in January 2020. Gillies holds a PhD in international relations from the University of Cambridge where she researched the politics of Nigeria’s oil sector. Ariel Cohen is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a member of the Council of Foreign Affairs. The author of numerous highly acclaimed publications, he specializes on political risks and energy policy in Eurasia, including Europe, Russia, and China. He holds a Masters and PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Mohammed Al-Saeedi is a Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa division at CIPE. Since 2004, he has worked in the field of economic reform and capacity building for business and civil society organizations. In the Kurdistan region of Iraq, these programs have led to the passage of an oil and gas funds law that increases transparency and a law that cracks down on oil smuggling.

This event, to be introduced by CIPE Executive Director Andrew Wilson, is part of an ongoing series, COVID-19 and Corruption, organized by the Anti-Corruption & Governance Center. The webinar will include ample time for audience participation, so please come prepared to ask questions.