Last week, the Africa Progress Panel launched their annual Africa Progress Report with a focus on Equity in Extractives: Stewarding Africa’s Natural Resources for All and tomorrow (15 May 2013) Revenue Watch Institute will launch the Resource Governance Index. Ensuring that countries benefit from their resources lies at the heart of these two reports. They also indicate the growing awareness and discussion on how African countries can best extract and use their resources for socio-economic development.
Africa is standing on the edge of enormous opportunity, this year’s Africa Progress Report finds, and African policy makers have critical choices to make. They can either invest their natural resource revenue in people to generate jobs and opportunities for millions in present and future generations. Or they can squander this opportunity, allowing jobless growth and inequality to take root.
In many African countries, natural resource revenues are widening the gap between rich and poor. Although much has been achieved, a decade of highly impressive growth has not brought comparable improvements in health, education and nutrition.
The Africa Progress Panel is convinced that Africa can better manage its vast natural resource wealth to improve the lives of the region’s people by setting out bold national agendas for strengthening transparency and accountability.
The management of resources by both developed and developing countries will determine their future, according to the Revenue Watch Institute. To promote better management, with a focus on transparency and open governance, the Revenue Watch Institute produces the Resource Governance Index. This is a collection of research, rankings and analysis that measures the quality of governance in the oil, gas and mining sector of 58 countries – Malawi is not included yet – which produce together 85% of the world’s oil, 90% of its diamonds and 80% of it copper.
The Index observes that less than 20 percent of countries have satisfactory standards of transparency and accountability. The four key governance components assessed are Institutional and Legal Setting; Reporting Practices; Safeguards and Quality Controls; and Enabling Environment.
Daniel Kaufmann, president of the Revenue Watch Institute emphasised
The Index research reveals a governance deficit in how transparent and accountable countries are with their natural resources. But by pointing to reforming states and to solutions, we reject the tired notion of the deterministic ‘resource curse’. There is room for improvement in every nation, including rich nations. Countries like Canada, the U.S. and Australia also need to ensure their multinational companies do not facilitate the opacity found in many countries where they operate.
This event will be live webcast. Register online. Participants can follow the discussion on Twitter using #RGIlive.
Listen to the Chairperson of the ten-member Africa Progress Panel, Kofi Annan, as he advocates for the wise use of Africa’s resources.