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Accepted Paper:

A Friend or Foe? From “development partner” to investor: Norway’s shifting roles in Tanzania  
Siri Lange (University of Bergen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the different imaginaries that are evoked when a donor country seeks to become a major investor in the petroleum sector of a country that has extremely negative experiences from foreign investments in the extractive sector.

Paper long abstract:

Norway has a strong self-identity as a humanitarian actor and takes pride in being on the list of countries that donates approximately 1 percent of its GNI to official development aid. Tanzania has been one of Norway’s main partner countries for development cooperation since the 1960s, and both partners have described the relationship as close and friendly. While this relationship has been a door opener for Norwegian business, the investments were for many years relatively small scale. This changed in 2012, when the Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor (then Statoil) made enormous natural gas discoveries in the country. Equinor, a former national oil company, was partly privatised in 2001 (one third of the shares) and strives to establish an identity independent from the Norwegian state. The company plans to build a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Southern Tanzania but has not yet been able to land a Host Government Agreement with the Tanzanian state. This is partly due to Tanzania’s negative experiences from foreign investment in its mining sector. This paper explores the different imaginaries of Equinor’s foreign investment in Tanzania: from the perspectives of Norwegian aid representatives (including Norway’s Oil for Development Programme), the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, Equinor’s Norwegian and Tanzanian staff, civil society actors and people in the affected areas. The paper draws on eight field visits to Tanzania over a period of seven years (2016-2022), as well as interviews and observations in Norway.

Panel P031b
Imaginaries of foreign investment: friction and co-constitution of international financial flows and national borders [AnthEcon] II
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -