Delegates of thirteen French-speaking African countries, which are implementing the EITI, offered examples of the results and impact of the EITI in their respective countries
As pointed out at the opening ceremony of the meeting by Eddie Rich, Deputy Director of the EITI International Secretariat: "The countries of French-speaking Africa have made much progress on transparency". He recalled that African countries were among the first to join the EITI, thereby contributing to the emergence of an international transparency standard that was applicable to all countries implementing the EITI. Participants of the Peer learning workshop of French-speaking African countries, held in Yaoundé (Cameroon) from 28 to 30 November 2017, reviewed the successes and results they attribute to the implementation of the EITI.
Daniella Randriafeno, National Coordinator of the EITI in Madagascar, highlighted the role played by recommendations of the EITI National Committee in improving institutional management of the Mining Cadastre Office of Madagascar (BCMM), while Marieme Diawara, National EITI Coordinator in Senegal, noted that the recommendations of the National Committee on the application of sub-national transfers have strengthened momentum at government level towards implementing the related decrees. Didier Kokou Agbemadon, National EITI Coordinator in Togo, described how EITI reports have highlighted weaknesses in government systems for collecting data on the payment of rebates to municipalities. Alice Zida Thiombiano, National EITI Coordinator in Burkina Faso, drew attention to faster computerization of the payment and levying of taxes and mining royalties on the basis of EITI recommendations. The National EITI Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Marie Thérèse Holenn Agnong, emphasized that, thanks to the EITI, the identity of the real owners of 80% of extractive industry companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo is now known. Her colleague Franck Nzira, a member of the EITI Secretariat in the Democratic Republic of Congo, explained how the EITI helps to increase state revenues through greater transparency and change of practice and behaviour within government agencies.
In the chapter on legal and regulatory reforms, Robert Moidokana, EITI National Coordinator in the Central African Republic, explained how the EITI has contributed to the adoption of Article 60 of the new Constitution, which requires that the opinion of the people’s representatives in the National Assembly must be taken into account prior to the signing of contracts.
Other participants highlighted the role of the EITI as the only source of reliable information on the sector. Amina Mahamat, National Coordinator of the EITI in Chad, noted that petroleum contracts can only be accessed through EITI Chad and that extractive sector employment statistics are only available in EITI reports. Djibi Sow, National EITI Coordinator in Mauritania, presented the EITI's contribution to legal reforms, increase of tax revenues and reduction of corruption, while Julien Tingain of the EITI National Secretariat in Côte d'Ivoire stated that the EITI has contributed to greater acceptance of industry operations by society and to better relations with communities and government.
Do tools and methodology need to be questioned?
Despite the richness of the examples presented, some participants raised the issue of links between the EITI and legal and institutional reforms and the issue of impact of the EITI for improving the living conditions of ordinary people, beyond tangible changes at the process level. The participants also agreed that there was a need to clearly define the role of the EITI and what could rightfully be expected from it in terms of impact. The participants noted that adoption of a rigorous methodology for impact measurement and redefinition of the tools used by multi-stakeholder groups are prerequisites for better measurement of progress achieved.
Integrating the EITI within government systems
Integrating the EITI within government systems will allow multi-stakeholder groups to focus on the added value of the EITI and its impact on reforms. This gradual integration is becoming a reality for many countries. As pointed out by Mr. Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Finance and EITI Champion in Cameroon, in the opening address of the meeting, Cameroon has "many well-documented and active websites of reporting entities", starting with the site of the Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures (SNH), which includes a specific EITI section. Cissé Bourama, member of the EITI National Secretariat in Mali, drew attention to Mali’s online cadastre (MCAS), and said that "the long-term prospect is for the integration of all payments by companies, including mining royalties, in the cadastre". Integration helps to systematize and sustain transparency within government systems, allowing multi-stakeholder groups to ask themselves the key question: "What now?"