Forum on extractive resources management opens

The 2015 Africa Summer School on the Governance of Oil, Gas and Mining Revenues has opened in Accra.

Over 45 government officials, civil society organisations, media practitioners, community leaders and parliamentary staff from Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia are participating in the two- week school which is to enhance participants’ knowledge and skill on the extractive resource governance on the continent which are oil, gas and mining.

It is being organised by the Natural Resource Governance Institute in collaboration with the German International Development Cooperation (GIZ) school at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAI-PTC).

Opening the school on Monday, Mr. James Avedzi, Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, noted that Africa had, over the years, mismanaged its natural resources and that had led to many conflicts, divisions and environmental degradation.

He said if the extractive industries were properly and transparently managed with the right policies and enforcement systems, it would trigger growth in the country’s economic sector, offer avenues for jobs and sustainable development, and help reduce poverty by providing infrastructure and basic social services.

Mr. Avedzi therefore charged African countries to create a conducive environment for the industry and manage revenues in the sector prudently for accelerated development on the continent.

“It is in this vein that Ghana decided to provide a framework for the management of the revenue from the oil and gas sector by enacting the Petroleum and Revenue Management Act of 2011 (Act 815) before the start of the production of oil in the country,” he said.

Mr. Avedzi said national efforts to promote transparency and good governance in the extractive sector in countries with rich resources, had gained significant interest and that about 23 countries in Africa had signed up to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

He noted that Africa’s oil and gas sector, in the last decades, had flourished and that factors such as high commodity prices and improved exploration technologies, had led to important discoveries, thus making the oil, gas and mining sector progress significantly.

Mr. Avedzi said the Summer School, would help improve the capacities of the civil society groups, media, parliament, and government agencies to ensure strong fiscal responsibility and macro-economic planning, as well as develop policies that could reduce inequalities and ensure that natural resources are used in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Mr. Emmanuel Kuyole, Africa’s Deputy Director for Natural Resource Governance Institute, said at the end of the course, participants would be challenged to question the manner in which natural resources were being managed in their respective countries.

He said the course would be both theoretical and practical where participants would be required to visit mines in the Eastern Region to apply what they had learnt in the classroom.

He disclosed that over the last four years, a total of 167 participants from a number of African countries attended the Summer School.

By Joseph Edu Archison and Jamila Abubakar

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