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AfDB Participates in National Forum on Oil and Gas Development in Accra, Ghana

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African Development Bank (AfDB) Group experts are participating in a two-day national forum on oil and gas in Accra, Ghana.  The event, which runs from February 25-26, is part of the Ghanaian government’s efforts to demonstrate that far from being a curse, natural resources could constitute a huge blessing for the country. The forum also aims at involving all stakeholders in oil- and gas-related discussions. The forum will enable the Ghanaian government to draw on the experiences of other resource-rich countries as it brings together national and international experts who will be on hand to share their experiences.

Participants in the Accra forum will focus on possibilities of "Turning Oil and Gas Wealth into Sustainable and Equitable Development." This theme will require participants to consider the contribution of oil and gas to economic growth and development in terms of Ghana’s development strategies and experiences - both positive and negative - from around the world, including a review of approaches necessary to achieve this initiative both in terms of sound public finances management principles and particular instruments that have been developed to support the initiative, including petroleum revenue funds.

They are also expected to focus on "Entrenching Transparency and Stakeholder Engagement." They will use the occasion to examine the role of transparency, accountability and stakeholder engagement in making and implementing a good extractive industry policy, using examples from Ghana and elsewhere, based on the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Similarly, participants will discuss the "Effective Management of the Oil & Gas Sector." This theme deals with the examination of how laws, contracts and regulatory institutions can be used to provide effective management of oil and gas exploration and production and maximize benefits for Ghana.  This will include discussion of licensing and negotiations, fiscal terms and the roles of the regulator and national oil company, using examples from Ghana’s own recent experiences with regulatory reform and examples from around the world.

Oil and mining industry experts attending the forum will also focus on the theme: "Safeguarding Security and the Environment." They will examine security and environmental issues relating to the oil and gas industry and appropriate safeguard measures suited to Ghana and the best means to implement them.

The forum is expected to launch a process in which the government will consult widely over the coming months to prepare a comprehensive national oil and gas policy and a master plan for the sector. The Ghanaian government and other stakeholders hold that it is vital to have such important forums and exchanges, as well as develop a Policy and a Plan before options are foreclosed by the rapid pace of oil and gas development.

The AfDB has endorsed the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which is expected to enable mineral-rich African countries derive greater benefits from oil, gas, mineral and other natural resources, by publicly disclosing revenues and using their proceeds for development. The Bank’s endorsement of the Initiative is expected to help resolve one of the most striking paradoxes of the African continent where countries with vast mineral wealth are among the poorest in the world. Fourteen of the 22 countries around the globe that have joined the EITI are in Africa. EITI Donor partners include the G8 and Norway. A group of companies and industry associations as well as the IMF and World Bank, ERBD and OECD and the Publish What You Pay Coalition, are also participants.

The initiative is in line with the Bank Group’s Policy on Good Governance approved in November 1999 which aims at supporting good governance practices in its regional member countries in a manner consistent with its charter, mandate, and development priorities. The global EITI community adheres to principles such as prudent use and proper management of natural resources for the benefit of the citizenry and enabling the public understand how governments generate revenues and expenditure.

Ghana is a signatory of the EITI Initiative and other African countries that have signed on include Angola, Cameroon, Congo, DR Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone and Chad.

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