Improved Natural Resource Governance: Contract Transparency is Crucial

Introduction and Background

After several years of poor natural resource governance in Africa, there has been a shift in attitudes and policies among stakeholders on the need to maximise on the potential of the extractive industry to transform African economies towards sustainable development. There are increasing calls for transparency and accountability in the extractive sector with many African governments adopting international best practices in the management of natural resources. It is anticipated that good governance in natural resources will result in the dearth of the ‘resource curse’ phenomenon which characterizes the extractive industry across the continent. Key reforms have been proposed and initiatives implemented. At the African Union (AU) level, the African Heads of State and Governments adopted the African Mining Vision in February 2009 as Africa’s own response to tackling the paradox of great mineral wealth existing side by side with pervasive poverty, (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, 2020).

Furthermore, 24 African countries have joined the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) which has a membership of 54 countries. EITI is an established global standard to promote the open and accountable management of oil, gas, and mineral resources (EITI, 2020). The EITI Standard requires the disclosure of information along the extractive industry value chain from the point of extraction, to how revenues make their way through the government, and how they benefit the citizens. Two years in a row, the government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) has, through the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube expressed its commitment to joining the EITI. In his 2019 National Budget Statement, he reiterated the following;

“In order to move along with international best practices on achieving transparency in the management of natural resources, the country is considering joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)……” Minister Mthuli Ncube, 2018.

Sadly, despite these pronouncements, the government has not taken any steps towards joining the EITI. However, there is general consensus among stakeholders that there is need to enhance transparency and accountability in the extractive sector. For example, there was public outcry from civil society organisations and citizens a few days ago when Anjin Diamond Mining Company resumed operations in Chiadzwa, Manicaland- after being awarded fresh diamond mining claims by the GoZ. It is against this backdrop that this week’s Weekend Digest focuses on transparency and accountability in the extractive sector in Zimbabwe.

Download full story here (1.7MB PDF)

Source: Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI-Z)

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