Across the world, journalists have been key to uncovering malfeasance in the natural resources sector. Media have exposed illicit activities by international oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria. They have shed light on Cameroon petroleum contracts that bring few benefits to locals and to national accounts.
Unlike in the resource-rich country in the film Black Panther, much of Africa’s mining sector is currently dominated by foreign direct investment; its raw minerals are often exported with limited local participation in the sector and tax revenues are eroded.
En août 2017, dix journalistes et acteurs de la société civile de la Guinée ont participé à la 7ème édition de l’université d’été du Centre d’Excellence pour la Gouvernance des Industries Extractives en Afrique Francophone (CEGIEAF) à Yaoundé.
Since 2013, the EITI Standard has “encouraged” public disclosure of contracts. And while it is difficult to attribute causality to policy change, since the release of the 2013 EITI Standard, nine new countries released contracts, and nine enacted laws that require contract disclosure.
It has been notoriously difficult for citizens in resource-rich countries to lay hands on extractive industry contracts and licenses between their governments and private sector extractive companies. But that seems to be changing.
Secrecy around the agreements that governments strike with extractive companies for the exploitation of natural resources is a critical issue. Without access to this information, how can interested citizens be sure that the government negotiated a decent deal on their behalf, or that the company involved is paying its taxes correctly?