Extractive Industries in Africa-AfDB, World Bank Officials Share Ideas on Extractive Industries in Tunis
Tunis, 8 February 2007 – African Development Bank Group and World Bank experts will begin a two-day meeting on Monday in Tunis to exchange ideas on how to encourage transparency and equity for the benefit of stakeholders in the extractive industries. The meeting which is being organized by the ADB Governance and Economic & Financial Reform Department (OSGE) will cover activities and experiences in the areas of oil, gas, and mining and focus on building partnership among the two Banks.
The agenda of the meeting will include an overview of the experiences of the two multilateral finance institutions in the extractive industries. The experts will deliberate on special themes such as ‘EI Work in Post Conflict Countries’, ‘Communities and Small Scale Mining’, as well as ‘Prospects for AfDB and World Bank Cooperation in the Extractive Industries’.
The meeting falls within the framework of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)—a global coalition of governments, companies, civil society, and development partners supporting improved governance in resource-rich countries through the full publication and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas, and mining.
The EITI was announced by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. It aims at defeating the so called resource curse by ensuring that revenues from extractive industries contribute to transform national economies and reduce poverty in resource-rich countries. Countries implementing EITI principles make an undertaking to strengthen transparency of their extractive industries revenue, and benefit from an improved investment climate by providing a clear signal to investors and international financial institutions. Civil society benefits from an increased amount of information in the public domain, thereby increasing accountability and improving transparency.
President Donald Kaberuka announced the AfDB’s endorsement of the Initiative at the 3rd plenary session of the Conference on EITI held in Oslo, Norway in October 2006. In endorsing the Initiative, Mr. Kaberuka noted that Africa had not fully benefited from its natural resource endowment in the past and stressed the importance of EITI in improving the investment climate in Africa and ensuring that transparently managed revenue from extractive industries serve to transform African economies and improve the lives of the poor living in resource-rich regional member countries (RMCs).
He said the AfDB’s approach to the EITI will consist of helping to create the political will among resource dependent regional member countries (RMCs) that have not signed-up to the EITI as well as providing technical and financial assistance to RMCs that have demonstrated political will by endorsing the EITI, but lack the human, financial, and institutional capacity to implements it. A Bank-wide taskforce is currently exploring ways in which the AfDB can better assist its member countries in maximizing the development impacts of revenue generated for extractive industries in an accountable, ,transparent and sustainable manner.
So far, 21 countries (including 14 African countries) of the world’s 53 natural resource-rich countries have endorsed ETI. Five African countries only – Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, and Guinea – have published EITI reports. Malian officials indicated recently that the country would announce its intention to join the global Initiative later in February. The World Bank officially endorsed the EITI process and committed to promoting its principles in 2004.