Mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea are among the new countries that have joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as full members after compliance of the agency’s set rules.
DR Congo joins among other African countries, Zambia in the initiative to remain transparent in its dealings on minerals including ensuring that mining companies operating in Africa’s fifth largest state remit taxes to Government and ensure people benefit from their countries’ mineral wealth.
During an EITI meeting in Mexico on 2 July, DR Congo, Africa’s leading copper producer-surpassing Zambia since last year was recognised as a full member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
As ‘Compliant’ with the global EITI transparency standard, citizens of DR Congo have access to extensive information about how their natural resources are governed. Industry, government and civil society in the country are working together to inform the debate about the management of its oil, gas and mineral resources.
In a statement, the EITI International Board designated the country ‘EITI Compliant’ at its meeting in Mexico City and congratulated the Government of the DRC for its sustained commitment and leadership in the implementation of the EITI.
The meeting was attended by the EITI board chairperson, Clare Short who lauded the country for the foresight in joining EITI adding,
“I congratulate the DRC for becoming a full member of the EITI family. Despite all the challenges facing the country, the Congolese people have been working together to bring transparency and accountability to the management of their natural resources.”
DR Congo’s Candidate status was temporarily suspended on 18 April 2013, following the publication of the 2010 EITI Report, which was found to not meet the EITI requirements.
The country has since addressed the issues that led to its suspension. Jonas Moberg, Head of the EITI International Secretariat at the same meeting said:
“There has been an extraordinary level of engagement as part of the EITI process in the DRC. The EITI cannot solve all the problems in this big country, but it is clearly bringing transparency and accountability to a complex sector that has been badly managed in the past.”
He noted that EITI compliance does not mean that a country’s natural resources are managed perfectly, but it does mean that the country has a basic and functioning process to ensure that a well-informed debate is taking place.
Compliance will ensure that the DRC’s vital natural resource sector contributes to the country’s long term development.
It is the desire of the EITI to working with all its partners in the DR Congo to continue implementing needed reforms. Sustained political commitment is needed to continue in the right direction.
Paulo de Sa, Sector Manager of the Energy and Extractives Global Practice of the World Bank speaking during the same occasion commended DR Congo for looking up to EITI to ensure its mineral wealth benefits the people as espoused by the international agency.
“In spite of the governance challenges the country faces, the DRC has made great strides in implementing transparency over the past few years. We look forward to continuing this work through the EITI Multi Donor Trust Fund in an effort to further the contribution of mining to poverty alleviation in the country.” Said de Sa.
Among the resolutions of the EITI board that DR Congo was tasked to undertake and honors are that in accordance with the transitional arrangements, the DRC is encouraged to transition to the EITI Standard as soon as possible, including by updating their EITI work plan to address the necessary actions.
Other recommendations were that the DR Congo be revalidated within three years effective 2 July 2017 or earlier upon request of the multi-stakeholder group. Validation will be conducted in accordance with the EITI Standard.
Guinea was another African country to be accepted at the same meeting as as ‘EITI Compliant‘ by the EITI Board.
As a country implementing the EITI, Guinea regularly discloses the government’s revenues from natural resources. Maintaining compliant status will require that the country meets all requirements in the EITI Standard. The Standard, adopted in 2013, includes additional disclosure requirements.
“The World Bank congratulates Guinea on achieving EITI Compliant status after many years of hard work facilitated by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund grant to meet rigorous transparency standards that now place their industry on par with international standards,” said Cheick Kante, Country Manager, Guinea office of the World Bank.