Elections in Africa

What impact can the EITI implementation processes have on better governance in these times of change?

The last quarter of 2015 has been election season across much of Africa. Indeed, four African countries implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) have recently been in the theatre of electoral operations: Guinea (presidential) on 11 October, Côte d’Ivoire (presidential), and Tanzania (presidential, legislative and municipal) on 25 October. Burkina Faso will be holding Presidential elections on November 29.

What does all this burst of democracy offer for EITI implementation? Four of these countries: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Tanzania are in the middle of producing their 2013 EITI Reports. These reports will first, allow their citizens to understand the benefits of natural resource extraction in their countries, and secondly, help ensure that the revenue generated from the industry is used to inform the policies and reforms of these administrations to improve living conditions of all citizens . For instance, Burkina Faso's 2012 EITI Report traced as much as 5 billion CFA francs (USD 10 million) from a signature bonus which was illegally contracted between the mining authorities and a large firm extracting manganese. This example illustrates the power of EITI Reports to inform political debate.

Four elections, four different outcomes

Côte d'Ivoire is on track for the publication of the 2013 EITI Report by the end of the year. The EITI National Technical Committee is pressing ahead with work on projects such as writing an information collection manual on extractive companies and setting up an online system for extractives data collection.

Guinea has initiated projects including a database of investors in the extractive sector and a study on monitoring production in the sector.

However, in Burkina Faso, the combined effects of election fever and the failed coup d’état of 16 September which nearly plunged the country into chaos is likely to slightly delay the 2013 EITI reporting process. In accordance with the EITI Requirements, this report must be published by 31 December 2015.  They are keen to take the necessary time to ensure a good report to inform the incoming government. 

Tanzania was suspended from the EITI on 2 September for failure to publish its 2012/13 EITI Report within two years.  These delays pre-dated the election.  They are currently finalising the 2012/13 and 2013/14 reports which they hope will give Magufuli’s new government a valuable source of reliable information on which to develop policy.

Looking ahead to the next season

Overall, with the exception of Burkina Faso, the elections have not caused a fundamental change in the administrations of these countries. In Burkina Faso, a new political party is expected to take the power by the end of November after a political transition period. We wish these countries our best wishes in their efforts to use EITI implementation to help inform public debate of the governance of natural resources and create reforms and benefits for the millions of citizens of those countries.

 

Kimsegninga Savadogo is the Communications Officer of the Burkina Faso EITI Permanent Secretariat, and is currently on an exchange working as an Intern at the EITI International Secretariat. To find out more about EITI in Burkina Faso, visit the country page on eiti.org or the Burkina Faso EITI national website.