Nunc Dimittis or Chef Cornerstone?: Evaluating Africa’s International Norm-Development Experiment in the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project

Duruigbo, Emeka | January 1, 2015

Africa extended and strengthened its status as a maker of international

law by spearheading the creation and implementation of the norm of “shared

sovereignty” in international criminal adjudication and the management of petroleum

resources through the Special Court for Sierra Leone that was established

to prosecute the principal actors in a devastating war in West Africa in

the 1990s and through the Chad–Cameroon Oil Pipeline Project that created a

model for effective production and utilization of natural resources for national

development. This article argues that by situating itself at the forefront of the

shared sovereignty experience, Africa is making significant contributions to the

development of international law and, despite an initial setback, Africa’s effort

represents a firm foundation upon which major progress can be established.

This article highlights the key challenges that orchestrated the failure of the

Chad project, focusing on the inability of international financial institutions

such as the World Bank Group and state actors to successfully manage complex

shared sovereignty arrangements, particularly in weak states in unstable regions.

The paper further identifies the specific socio-political, economic, structural,

and legal mechanisms that are imperative to ensuring the successful implementation

of oil revenue management or natural-resource-based shared

sovereignty systems in developing nations grappling with sustainable economic

development and democratization.