With the goal of improving the management of oil, gas, and mineral revenues, curbing corruption, and fighting inequality, African countries—like 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. At the same time, the use of national and subnational revenue distribution by elites to maintain their control over the democratic process continues to erode trust in government, constraining the political space for human rights and other accountability activists to monitor duty bearers and speak out against violations. Confidence in the quality and reliability of public data further creates challenges. In the end, greater transparency and accountability will make domestic resource mobilization more effective, leading to better economic and social outcomes for all.
On October 24, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative, alongside Oxfam, 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 first panel featured case studies of how data has been put to use to contribute to broader policy change efforts. After a short break, a diverse set of issue experts reacted to the case studies, discussed emerging lessons, and commented on future directions for the transparency, accountability, and natural resource governance fields.