Prospects for peace in a petro-state: Gas extraction and participation in violence in Tanzania
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Original versionBergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Brief vol. 16 no. 10) 4 p.
Significant petroleum discoveries in Tanzania have shaped the country’s political discourse in recent years, with politicians promising to turn this newfound resource wealth into rapid economic growth and poverty reduction. Large-scale extraction of petroleum has yet to occur, however, raising fears that creating unrealistic expectations about future economic gain could motivate citizens to participate in violent collective action if these expectations are not met. Deadly riots in the gas-producing Mtwara region in 2013 over dissatisfaction with a planned gas pipeline route demonstrate that these fears are not unfounded. However, while this incident should be taken seriously, it is does not necessarily indicate that Tanzanians are willing to take part in future protests or other violent actions against the government. We review evidence from a recent survey experiment that shows that petroleum-related expectations are not very likely to inspire large-scale participation in violence.