Jon Lomøy, Hilde Frafjord Johnson an Leiv Lunde were involved in the Oil for Development programme at the beginning in 2005.
Photo: Fredrik Naumann

- Knowledge is the point of departure

After 10 years of Oil for Development programme (OfD), the initiators reflect on the success-factors.

The OfD programme has aided developing countries in sustainable petroleum management for 10 years. Three of the main initiators discussed the uniqueness at the 10-year anniversary of the programme.

- This is one of the few successful models internationally on how you can transfer knowledge, says Lomøy.

Lomøy was a director in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs when the programme was initiated back in 2005. He later became director of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), and has recently been appointed Director General of Norad, where the OfD secretariat is situated.

Leiv Lunde was another initiator of the OfD progamme. He was at the time State Secretary at the Ministry of Development.

- The uniqueness of this model is that it does not take money as the point of departure. Knowledge is the point of departure, Lunde says.

Lunde is currently working as Director of Strategy at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Power play at high stakes

OfD provides technical advice to cooperating partners. Still, one if the founders thinks there is another key success-factor behind programme:

- In the end, this is about real power politics at the very top level, says Hilde Frafjord Johnson.

Johnson, the third initiator, was Norway’s Minister of Development at the time.

- If you don’t have strong political leadership, you will fail even with the technical cooperation. There needs to be a commitment at the very top to do the right things. That is why the ministers of Norway are important in dialogue with their counterparts, says Johnson.

Money into the wrong pockets

Johnson remembers visiting several countries where Norway contributed to aid the oil sector when she was a minister. She especially remembers a particular country.

- We had gotten the sector up and running. Institutions were beginning to function. Still, poverty levels were increasing over time. We knew that the president had billions of dollars in bank accounts. I visited this country twice and it was only getting worse, Johnson says.

- If we did not address the issue of governance around more than petroleum, we would fail our mission.

Published 11.12.2015
Last updated 14.12.2015