One policy option for countries reliant on natural resources is to share part of the revenues directly with citizens, an idea known as oil to cash. Technological innovation, such as biometric identification and mobile money, now allow direct payments to people on a massive scale. Additional changes in the global marketplace, experiments in India and Kenya, and shifting political views of cash transfers have all affected the potential of cash to boost governance.
Todd Moss is senior fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington DC and nonresident scholar at the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute. A former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Moss is the author of Oil to Cash: Fighting the Resource Curse with Cash Transfers and The Golden Hour, a diplomatic thriller set in West Africa.