This Note assesses Ghana’s legal regime for managing revenues from its newfound petroleum reserves as a means of combatting the resource curse—the well-documented political and economic phenomenon wherein resource-rich countries experience greater levels of corruption and poor governance and weaker democracy and economic growth than resource-poor nations. The Ghanaian regime fails to provide systemic protections against the resource curse by (1) supplying insufficient economic development and poverty relief, (2) lacking incentives and mechanisms for overseeing and holding accountable the powers responsible for managing petroleum revenues, and (3) providing insufficient channels for spreading the economic benefits of extraction beyond the petroleum sector. This Note undertakes a comparative study of a representative group of petroleum revenue-management regimes—those of Alaska, Norway, Indonesia, and Trinidad and Tobago—in search of an effective regime that might be transplanted to Ghana. Finding that none of these regimes are adequately applicable to Ghana’s economic, social, or political context, this Note goes on to propose a novel regime for petroleum revenue management in Ghana, drawing on principles of U.S. corporate law.

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