Africa's Oil Dreams

Thomas Dworzak / Magnum

Petrol sellers in Lagos, Nigeria.

Right now, one of the busiest spots on the oil map of the world is Club Tropicana. Owned by a genial 45-year-old named Aguinaldo Salvaterra, the Tropicana is tucked behind the grand pink and blue Portuguese town houses that line the seafront of São Tomé. It's a little poky, but the beer is cold and, crucially in a town that rises late, enjoys a siesta and retires at dusk, Salvaterra rarely leaves his stool, which means the Tropicana is the one place in São Tomé that's nearly always open. Lately, that has made it the venue of choice for a...