With the goal of improving the management of oil, gas, and mineral revenues, curbing corruption, and fighting inequality, African countries—such as Ghana, Kenya, Guinea, and Liberia—are stepping up their efforts to support good governance in resource-dependent countries. Long-fought-for gains in transparency—including from initiatives like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)—have helped civil society and other accountability actors assess how individual oil, gas, and mining revenues are delivered or lost, and how revenues spending decisions are made. Yet the transparency revolution remains far from complete. Ongoing dependence on extractive industry revenues in many countries continues to limit the policy space for economic diversification and overall growth.
On October 24, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative, alongside Oxfam America, the Natural Resource Governance Institute, and Publish What You Pay, co-hosted a two-panel public event to showcase victories and lessons learned in utilizing extractive industry transparency disclosures for the wider sustainable development and economic growth agenda.
The event began with introductory remarks by AGI Director Brahima Coulibaly, who emphasized that effective natural resource management can have long-lasting and widespread positive impacts. NRGI CEO and Global Economy and Development Nonresident Senior Fellow Daniel Kaufmann. In his introduction, Kaufmann specifically highlighted progress in natural resource governance such as increased transparency along with areas for progress like gaps in implementation and government capacity.
The first panel was moderated by Isabel Munilla, policy lead for extractive industries at Oxfam America and discussed how data is being used to contribute to broader policy change efforts in the natural resource industry. The second panel, moderated by Ian Gary, director for power and money at Oxfam America focused on future direction for the transparency, accountability, and natural resource governance fields. During the first panel, Elvin Nkhonjera, program coordinator for extractive industries at Oxfam Malawi, discussed the case of Malawi and the critical role of civil society in holding governments accountable.
Discussing lessons learnt from ongoing work in natural resource governance, Don Hubert, president at Resources for Development Consulting, summed up three themes of the first discussion, particularly noting the need to increasingly focus data analysis instead of only transparency and the publication of raw data
In his opening remarks on the second panel, Ambassador Kerfalla Yansané from the Republic of Guinea discussed the importance of combining the issue of governance with challenges in institutional capacity.
Brookings Africa Growth Initiative Fellow Landry Signé reviews several lessons on effective natural resource management gleaned from the discussed case studies, with an emphasis on the quality of both the available data and the analysts as well as the impudence of those researchers.
The panelists took questions from the audience after the discussion.