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Photo: Jeff Spicer / FilmImage

Two Brookings Institution analysts say the acclaimed smash movie "Black Panther" offers lessons for how African countries can transform energy and mineral deposits into lasting public benefits.

Why it matters: The movie is putting fresh attention on how to mitigate or avoid the "resource curse"— the poverty, conflict, and corruption in many resource-rich nations in Africa and elsewhere.

  • Brookings' Mariama Sow and Amadou Sy look at management of the amazing metal vibranium in Wakanda, Black Panther's fictional African setting.
  • "[T]he country has wisely made use of the metal to enhance technology and economic development for its people," they write, noting governance features including use of revenues for a social safety net.
  • But they also suggest trading practices that could provide benefits beyond the isolationist Wakanda's borders.

Two real places to watch: Exxon has found massive oil fields off Guyana's coast in South America, while automakers need increasing supplies of cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo for batteries for electric vehicle expansion.

Yes, but: This Bloomberg Gadfly column, which also uses Black Panther as a hook, explores why Congo faces high hurdles to translating its cobalt bounty into a broader public good.

  • Those hurdles are population size; longstanding civil conflict; the prospect that changes in battery tech will erode demand; and endemic corruption.

Listen deeper: The latest International Monetary Fund podcast looks at a more recently recognized problem: the "presource curse" that can hinder economic growth in countries after petroleum discoveries but before any production occurs.

  • The expectation of development can lead to poor spending and borrowing decisions that leave a country exposed if energy companies don't ultimately make big investment decisions.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”