Oil promises – how oil changed a country | DW Documentary

DW Documentary – Dec 3, 2020

When oil was discovered in Ghana in 2007, the country began to dream big. It dreamed that the ‘black gold’ would bring economic upswing and long-awaited prosperity to its nation. But what happens when dreams and globalization meet? The global economy continues to rely on oil — but the so-called ‘black gold’ is becoming scarce. If a country has oil, so we tend to believe, it has all it needs to become a wealthy country. When oil was discovered in Ghana in 2007, Ghanaians also believed that economic prosperity would soon sweep over their country.

By 2010, drilling had started. Ghana was determined to do better than Nigeria, a country that exports oil, but has to import gasoline. This documentary, shot over a period of ten years, is a case study of globalization. Filmed in a coastal region where people lived off fishing and rubber cultivation for decades, it shows the impact the oil discovery has had on their lives.

Would the promises come true? Would the ‘black gold’ bring modern life and progress, paved streets, electricity and jobs even to small villages? Filmmaker Elke Sasse and journalist Andrea Stäritz spent ten years documenting the developments on Ghana’s western coast. Nigerian animator Ebele Okoye adds her personal perspective through art, as a citizen of a nation hit by the oil curse.

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