Transparency International Chief Enlists Support for Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative- (Says Bottom 3.5 billion Global Population Live in Resource-Rich Countries)
Tunis, 22 September 2008 –Transparency International’s Advisory Committee Chair, Peter Eigen, began a two-day visit to the AfDB on Monday in Tunis where called for increased support to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) which seeks to ensure that proceeds from extractive industries are used to develop and reduce poverty in the countries where they are generated.
Mr. Eigen, who also chairs the EITI Board, is visiting at the invitation of the Bank Group’s Governance Department and the Chief Economist’s office. He made the call while briefing the AfDB Board of Directors on the challenges and benefits of EITI as well as the critical importance of its implementation for sustainable growth and poverty reduction.
More than half of the World’s population or 3.5 billion people live in countries rich in oil, gas and minerals.
"We are greatly empowered by you," he told the Board chaired by Vice President for Finance, Thierry de Longuemar, noting that the Bank could help convince some of its member countries on the need for compliance with EITI in the interest of their population.
He said currently 23 countries, 16 of them African, were actively participating in the process but that none of these had scaled the steps required to be certified EITI-complaint. The Central African Republic is expected to join the Initiative this week, Mr. Eigen said.
He spoke about challenges to be tackled with regards to perceptions about the ownership of EITI, problems of capacity building on its activities as well as difficulty in getting NGOs from some of the countries to speak up on EITI compliance issues.
After the presentation, Board members raised a number of issues, including the need to help African countries build the capacity to gain good knowledge of the upstream and downstream mechanisms in the operations of extractive industries. The EITI should, among other issues also address how proceeds of extractive industries are expended.
Mr. Eigen addressed staff on the same theme later in the day. He will meet some board members and senior staff and will address a press conference on Wednesday where he will launch the 2008 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.
The EITI principles were first enunciated by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abuja 2002. The Initiative formally came into being in 2005. The countries that have singed onto EITI are: Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Madagascar, Mongolia, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and Yemen.
Among these, 10 countries have published audited EITI Reports: Azerbaijan, Cameron, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Mongolia, and Nigeria. Several other countries are working towards meeting the sign up indicator requirements. Thirty-seven of the world’s largest oil, gas and mining companies support and actively participate in the EITI process through their country operations in implementing countries.
Civil Society Organisations participate in the EITI directly and through the Publish What You Pay campaign, which is supported by over 300 NGOs worldwide. The World Bank, the IMF, the AfDB, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as the European Investment Bank support EITI and provide technical and financial support to implementing countries, and EITI outreach activities.