Outcomes and impact
1.5 Work plan
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 1.5 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. The triennial work plan (2022-2024) is the product of input and support from all constituencies. Stakeholder consultations found that the process for developing and updating annually the work plan was transparent and inclusive of the views of members of the broader government, industry and civil society constituencies. However, the 2022 EITI-BF work plan did not include explicit linkages to national priorities and only to a limited degree incorporates recommendations from reporting, Validation, studies and relevant government performance audits recently undertaken15. In its comments on the draft Validation report, the MSG argued strongly for an upgrade to ‘fully met’, arguing that the national objectives were considered when selecting activities, even if the linkage is not explicitly stated. On balance, it is the Secretariat’s view that the underlying objective of Requirement 1.5 is fulfilled given the alignment of EITI objectives with national priorities and the recent inclusion of activities related to mainstreaming the EITI in government and company systems in EITI-BF’s (current) 2023 work plan, agreed and published during the period for MSG comments on the draft Validation report. It is the Secretariat’s view the underlying objective of supporting national priorities has been fulfilled with the publication of the latest (2023) EITI-BF work plan.
The work plan references the goals of the PNDES II to increase the mining sector’s overall relevance for the economy, such as in local content, employment, and investments. The PNDES II also highlights the fight against gold smuggling, regularisation of ASM and improvement of the legal and institutional framework (EA 4.2.3, p.65) as important pillars – which the work plan does not explicitly reference. The work plan does not include activities on local content, gold smuggling or regularisation of the ASM sector (other than activities that are core to ANEEMAS) which are stated objectives of the PNDES II (but not cited in the EITI work plan). In its response to the draft Validation report, the MSG noted that the activities are fully in line with the strategic objectives set out in the PNDES and that the formulation of work plan objectives followed the structure of the EITI Standard. The MSG argues that it was not an obligation to explicitly link EITI work plan objectives to national priorities provided there is broad alignment between the two. Furthermore, the study on illicit financial flows that was undertaken in 2022 was aimed at informing a strategy to combat illicit financial flows, even if this was not mentioned in the EITI-BF work plan.
In its response to the draft Validation report, the MSG noted that activities on recommendations from reporting and Validation are included in the work plan and are costed, as long as they require MSG follow-up, whereas recommendations that do not need concerted efforts are followed up through the MSG’s annual review of outcomes and impact.
The work plan is largely costed, although around half are core government activities. It includes rough time indications per activity (per quarter for 2022). It includes activities on the dissemination of EITI Reports and on gender. It addresses the removal of the legal obstacle on beneficial ownership. It contains two activities on the publication of contracts and licences, but no further activities in using contracts or of maintaining the contracts publications list, which is a requirement.
On ASM, the activity of preparing a study on the trade of artisanal gold in the 2021 work plan (activity nr 220.127.116.11) that was marked as having been started in the APR 2021, is not included in the 2022 work plan, nor is any follow-up on the study (for example, on dissemination). This is a concern since most of the report development took place in 2022. However, other activities on ASM from the 2021 work plan (such as 18.104.22.168) have been implemented. In its response to the draft Validation report, the MSG noted that there were other activities related to ASM in the work plan, to be carried out by ANEMAAS. Given the relevance of ASM for the country and region as a whole, and as noted in the section 1.5.9 of the National Development Plan (PNDES-II) 2021-202516, ensuring inclusion of activities that result in providing reliable data (or estimates) on ASM activities (employment, production and export as a minimum, see also assessments of Requirements 6.3, 3.2 and 3.3) and to address issues such as gold smuggling, beyond a study, would benefit from more activities in the work plan. Future work plans may wish to draw on findings and recommendations of an SAI report on mining license awards and environmental rehabilitation of mining sites, as those are governance issues that may benefit of MSG oversight to ensure priority recommendations are addressed. The MSG has not yet undertaken efforts to explicitly link the work plan to a monitoring framework, as encouraged by the EITI Standard.
7.1 Public debate
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 7.1 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. The rising insecurity in large parts of the country and constraints on civic space have had an impact on the ability of civil society and all constituencies engaged in the EITI process to actively and effectively engage in outreach and dissemination. The trend has been for Burkina Faso EITI to hold in-person outreach and dissemination events in a progressively smaller range every year since 2020 due to the security situation, with events held only within a 100km radius of the capital Ouagadougou in August 2022. The existence of use of data in ways that are critical of government and mining companies is covered under the assessment of the environment for civil society engagement in the EITI (see Requirement 1.3). In its comments on the draft Validation report, the MSG argued for an upgrade in the assessment of Requirement 7.1 to ‘exceeded’. While documentation provided in the templates submitted at the start of Validation implied that the previous practice of holding community radio broadcasts by Burkina Faso EITI had been paused, the MSG comments on the draft Validation report provided evidence of the MSG producing several audio and audio-visual broadcasts on the 2020 EITI Report and other discussions of public interest, such as public discussions of the findings of the Supreme Audit Institution’s (SAI) audit report on mining licensing practices, in order to overcome the security situation’s impact on the holding of in-person meetings. For the first time the MSG explained that it had launched the dissemination of the 2020 EITI Report through a broadcast on prime time news on national television (albeit without a link to the actual broadcast). The Secretariat takes note of the additional documentation that demonstrate that the dissemination activities have continued in 2022 covering the 2020 EITI Report, both in French and in local languages. The comments also highlight that several videos covering specific topics from the 2020 EITI Report were produced and published through social media platforms, such as Facebook.
On balance, the efforts undertaken in the past three years and listed in the impact template demonstrate that EITI disclosures, both through the EITI Report and the national EITI website, provide ample information enabling evidence-based public debate on extractive industry governance. EITI-BF and its constituencies actively communicate relevant data to key stakeholders in ways that are accessible and reflect stakeholders’ needs. Stakeholder views expressed during consultations argued that this objective was fully met, while some raised concerns that the security situation had effectively constrained dissemination events in mining regions.
Dissemination activities for August-September 2022 all took place within a 100km range of the capital (Ziniaré, Manga, Koudougou and Zorgho,), a good distance away of some of the major gold mines in the northern, western, southern and eastern border areas, which have come under continuous terrorist attacks in recent years.17 The dissemination in the year before spawned to regions almost 400km away (Zabré, Gogo, Fada, N’Gourma, Kongoussi, Mogtédo, Boromo, Gaoua, several of which are mining communities). The eleven subnational MSGs, which were set up in 2016 and are referenced in the impact template as innovations of the EITI in Burkina Faso have been closed due to lack of funding, according to stakeholders consulted.
The MSG’s ‘Outcomes and impact’ template lists a range of examples where EITI disclosures have been used and referenced in online news platforms18. EITI Reports and broader extractive data have been used by civil society stakeholders to promote topics of strong public interest such as subnational transfers, environmental impact of industrial mining and gender. The MSG asked for clarifications from the Minister of Mines on media allegations about mining license awards to companies linked to the Wagner group19, which the Minister denied was the case.20 The three (2018, 2019 and 2020) EITI Reports published in the period under review have been published on the websites of EITI Burkina Faso, of the Ministry of Finance21, and the customs agency.22 Burkina Faso has produced summaries or thematic briefs on the findings of the last three EITI Reports23, as well as translations of these summaries in seven local dialects. Civil society’s analysis of EITI data has included work on comparing extractive revenues to total government revenues. Extractive data is broadly used by all stakeholders, which allow the EITI to answer to issues of public interest, such as the Local mining development fund (FMDL)24 or tax holidays for mining companies.25 The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report provide an extensive list of video broadcasts and other media coverage of public debate related to extractive industry governance, which include some evidence of public criticisms related to the Supreme Audit Institution’s audit report on licensing practices (for instance on this RTB broadcast). There has also been some public discussions of the requisition of gold from certain mining companies (for instance in this BF1 broadcast) and license awards to AfroTurk (for instance in this RTB broadcast).
EITI Burkina Faso has not designed a dedicated communications strategy to frame its outreach and dissemination efforts. While there is little evidence of the MSG explicitly considering the information needs and access challenges of different stakeholder groups, EITI Burkina Faso appears to have prioritised outreach to civil society and journalists, including communities hosting extractive activities. Considering the gender impact of the extractive sector also represents a pillar of the MSG’s outreach and dissemination activities, with several workshops targeted specifically towards women. The figures of participation to each activity held are disaggregated by gender. Despite the pandemic, EITI Burkina Faso has conducted outreach and dissemination activities26 throughout the period, including radio programs (which according to stakeholders were aired in the period 2020-2021).27 All activities are listed in the impact template.
The Secretariat acknowledges the restrictions on outreach in mining regions given the security context. There is broad acknowledgment of outreach efforts by all stakeholders consulted. Nevertheless, some stakeholders (including development partners) considered that the outreach to communities in the regions hosting mining activities was limited to disseminating global findings from the EITI Reports and left little actionable advice on how to improve livelihoods in their communities after the one-off dissemination events. There is potential for EITI-BF to further tailor dissemination of EITI information to the respective communities, for instance building on the ample project level information available from the EITI. Data in EITI Reports could also benefit from being displayed and analysed in time series, given the rich comparative data available. More public archiving of radio and television broadcasts related to the EITI could also further strengthen dissemination of information to areas where in-person EITI events may not be held due to security concerns.
7.2 Data accessibility and open data
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 7.2 is fully met. Data from studies and EITI Reports are published in open format alongside the PDF file, allowing a broader use and analysis of information from the extractive sector.
The MSG agreed a policy on the access, release and reuse of EITI data in November 2022. The availability of open data is actively advertised on the national EITI website, through the open data platform (which is a separate subsite) 29, which acts as a catalogue for accessing excel files under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. The data is available in excel, is linked to the government agency which provided the information, and is tagged per thematic area. Summary data file have been submitted for each EITI Report up to 2020. EITI Report data in dedicated excel files is available for reporting years 2017-2020. Other data sets that are published by other reporting entities (mainly government) are published by theme but do not seem comprehensive and regularly updated.
The Secretariat considers this requirement to be borderline to exceeded, being one of the few examples that indexing datasets to ease access. The Secretariat welcomes the good practice of indicating the open data licence applicable to the excel files, and the source of the data.30 In order to achieve exceeded, EITI-BF should identify priority data sets it intends to republish on a regular basis from government entities, to ensure that the platform is perceived and trusted as a comprehensive and reliable source for data sets on the extractive industries.31 The open data portal doesn’t include more recent datasets consistently.
7.3 Follow up on recommendations
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 7.3 is mostly met, which represents backsliding compared to the previous Validation. Stakeholder consultations found that constituencies did not have any doubts on the effective follow-up on recommendations from EITI reporting and Validation, and that the separate running list of corrective actions and recommendations was a functioning mechanism. However, desk research and consultations did not find evidence that EITI implementation is a continuous learning process that contributes to policy making. The main legal reforms as a result of the EITI were enacted in 2015 with the establishment of the FMDL. However, follow-up on recommendations since then have focused on EITI reporting related recommendations, rather than to broader sector reforms. Other issues such as gold smuggling, revenue leakages and licencing backlogs have not yet given rise to EITI recommendations for reform. In its response to the draft Validation report, the MSG outlined its involvement in more recent legal reforms and current input to the revisions of the Mining Code. The MSG states that there had been follow-up actions by the cadastre department itself on the SAI audit on licence attributions, and that the EITI has been asked to work with the Ministry on the possibility to review all licence awards up to 2021. The study on illicit financial flows from artisanal mining that was commissioned in 2022 (and appears to still be ongoing) demonstrates that the EITI is working on issues that may not have been noted in the EITI Report but that are considered known governance challenges. The MSG further commented that the mechanism to follow up on recommendations is the annual progress report and the work plan, where those activities of priority and where capacity and funding are available are taken on board (which appear primarily related to EITI reporting). MSG meeting minutes demonstrate that the MSG instructed a working group to produce an overview of the follow-up on recommendations, which was presented on 24 August 2022 by an ad-hoc MSG working group.32 Such an overview was produced in 2020 as well, but not in 2021. Hence the Secretariat maintains that the mechanism for tracking and updating progress on recommendations and corrective actions outside of the EITI reporting cycle remains ad-hoc in nature.
Minutes of MSG discussion and documents published ahead of Validation, including the Outcomes and Impact template and the 2020 EITI Report, show that the MSG has a mechanism to identify, investigate and address the causes of discrepancies and to consider the recommendations stemming from EITI Reports and Validation. There is also evidence of MSG discussions and actions to address the causes of discrepancies, including in MSG meeting minutes and after publication of the latest (2020) EITI Report. The 2020 EITI Report includes a table listing 19 recommendations for addressing the causes of weaknesses in EITI reporting and in oversight of the extractive industries, as well as the MSG’s views on some of them and progress made so far in their implementation. Activities to implement some of these recommendations are included and budgeted in EITI Burkina Faso’s separate matrix that tracks follow ups from reporting and Validation (latest available online from August 2022).33
Desk review of documentation and stakeholder consultations identified that findings from reporting on the gap of revenues (royalties and sales revenues identified in at least two reports) and challenges arising from the first-come first-serve licencing regime, despite their relevance on domestic resource mobilisation and good governance, have had little attention or follow-up from the MSG. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report stated that the findings of recent EITI Reports indicating a shortfall in mining company payments to government were errors that had not been identified by the MSG in approving the draft EITI Reports. The Secretariat’s view is that this reflects weaknesses in the MSG’s system for following up on EITI recommendations. While the Secretariat recognises the existence of a robust mechanism for identifying, investigating and addressing the causes of discrepancies in EITI reporting, it considers that the mechanism for following up on recommendations from EITI implementation related to broader extractive industry governance remains ad hoc and thus not robust to ensure a genuine multi-stakeholder oversight of the process of prioritising and following up on recommendations for broader reform.
7.4 Review of outcomes and impact of implementation
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 7.4 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. The MSG has published the annual progress reports and has taken gender into consideration. The yearly review has not yet led to the identification of reform efforts, but states that it has delivered on its own objectives for the EITI.
The MSG has undertaken efforts to review the outcomes and impact of the EITI and the objective of regular public monitoring and evaluation of implementation that ensures the EITI’s accountability has been met. While the requirement is assessed as fully met, there is evidence that Burkina Faso EITI has addressed some of the encouraged aspects of Requirement 7.4, including undertaking ample efforts on to include gender and inclusiveness considerations in its outputs and dissemination efforts. A working group to assess the place of women in the implementation of the EITI was established in 2020, with public events held34 and a consultant recruited to fully integrate gender in the 2020 EITI Report. The MSG’s efforts to take gender considerations and inclusiveness into account are captured in MSG meeting minutes35, the 2020 EITI Report36 , the 2022-2024 work plan (p.16), the EITI-BF website and outcomes and impact template.
The 2021 Annual Progress Report provides comments on recommendations for improving EITI implementation in the country, particularly in terms of communications and dissemination activities. It includes a summary of activities and an overview of progress towards each EITI Requirement (section IV). It also includes a narrative account of the impact of the EITI on natural resource governance and lists efforts to expand the scope of EITI implementation to increase stakeholder engagement in accordance with Requirement 7.4.a.v. Whereas some of the reviewed activities reflect the value add of EITI, there are numerous activities that have been documented in the APR that are executions of activities that are the core mandate of government institutions.
The MSG undertook consultations to give all stakeholders an opportunity to provide feedback on the EITI process and the impact of the EITI and has reflected their views through the 2021, 2020, 2019 annual progress reports (Requirement 7.4.b). In addition, stakeholders were able to provide feedback on the EITI process during outreach events. The 2021 annual progress report, also published on the Ministry of Finance website, provides an overview of the outputs and outcomes of individual activities carried and addresses progress on the seven broader objectives set out in the 2022-24 work plan (Requirement 7.4.a.iv). Stakeholders confirmed in consultations that their views were sought and reflected in the annual review of outcomes and impact.
Effectiveness and sustainability indicators
1.1 Government engagement
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 1.1 is mostly met. Following the two coup d’états in 2022, Burkina Faso’s constitution has been suspended and the country remains governed by a military regime. The country is in exceptional circumstances, and has been suspended by regional bodies such as ECOWAS. Recent requisition of gold purchased from companies as well as plans to earmark half of the funds in the local mining development fund (FMDL) to finance national security spending37 are reflections of significant government decisions in the mining sector related to the ongoing fight against Islamist insurgents. The Secretariat’s view is that the recent actions since the second coup d’état in 2022 undermine Burkina Faso’s achievements on securing funds for local communities and a more stable and predictable investment climate for mining companies.
The announcement of the award of two mining licences in March 2023 that were not recorded in the mining cadastre as of May 2023 appeared to indicate that there had been significant deviations from the legal mining license allocation procedures. In its response to the draft Validation report, the MSG vehemently opposes the characterisation of a country in turmoil and unilateral government action, without consultation of partners. The MSG argues that the requisition of gold from specific mining companies and the planned earmarking of a share of FMDL funds to national security purposes followed a process outlined by law, with legal reforms ongoing to alter the management of local mining development fund allocations. The MSG provides documentation showing that the gold was not appropriated but purchased at the market price, and reforms in the allocation of FMDL funds went through parliamentary approval, with several discussions held with companies, civil society and the EITI to seek input on the legal changes to the FMDL’s allocations. Nonetheless, the new earmarks of certain mining funds for national security purposes does not appear to have yet been recorded in the national budget, which the IMF’s Resident Representative has argued should be done to improve transparency in the use of these funds (as reflected in a July 2023 article in L’Economiste du Faso).38 On the licence allocation, the MSG’s comments note that the award followed due legal procedures, given that the March 2023 announcement related to the government’s approval of the transfer of these mining licenses prior to their actual award, and that both licences have now been registered in the mining cadastre.39
Consultations with non-government constituencies found that follow-up from government has slowed down in 2022. Stakeholders consulted considered that this was mainly due to the reshuffling of leadership positions following two military coup d’états. The first coup d’état in January 2022 resulted in the change of the Chair and Vice-Chair, and the merger of the Ministry of Mines and Quarrying and the Ministry of Energy into one Ministry, with further changes in structures and personnel and an impact on EITI implementation. Formally, Ferdinand Ouédraogo, Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister, renewed the high-level commitment of the government in a public letter to the EITI Chair in December 2022 reaffirming the transitional government’s commitment to continue with EITI implementation as a tool to promote good governance. A similar note had been issued on the EITI website in February 2021 by the Minister of Economy and Finance, Lassane Kabore. Senior officials lead EITI implementation. The EITI Chair is the Secretary General of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, Nicolas Kobiane, and the Vice Chair is the Secretary General of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Moïse Ouedraogo, appointed in March and April of 2022 respectively. The current Secretary General of the Ministry of Mines and Energy is Jean Baptiste Kabore, appointed in 2023. In its comments on the draft Validation report, the MSG shared a letter from the Minister of the Economy and Finance published on 19 July 2023 reiterating the transitional government’s commitment to the principles and requirements of the EITI “transparency, accountability and freedom of expression.” The public letter also reiterates the government’s commitment to continue funding the EITI’s activities. The new government had provided assurances of its commitment to the EITI in a letter to the EITI chair from the Director of Cabinet of the Prime Minister’s office in December 2022, although this letter does not appear to be publicly accessible to citizens of Burkina Faso.
The government provides operational support and, according to its 2022-2024 work plan and the 2021 APR, funds 96% of costs, even if around half of the activities read as core government activities rather than activities carried out by EITI stakeholders in relation to implementing the EITI Standard. The national secretariat is hosted by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance and is considered a key convening body to ensure progress in implementation. There are currently 18 members in the EITI Secretariat, and the government, over three years (2020-2022), has paid USD 1.2 million for EITI implementation through the national budget. The government has enacted legislation for the public disclosure of beneficial owners, in order to remove the legal barrier to reporting (see Requirement 2.5).
In terms of representation on the MSG, the main reporting entities are present at senior levels with the exception of the Treasury, which holds observer status (and receives a reduced level of per diem for that role). Civil society and industry MSG members consider the level of government representation on the MSG to be sufficiently senior to ensure efficient decision making and follow-up on MSG decisions. Participation of government members was strong in the period under review. Government members participate in technical working groups in preparations of the work plan, annual reporting, and EITI Reports and Validation. Government members outside of the MSG have contributed to the elaboration of the 2022-2024 EITI-BF work plan.40 Constituency coordination is done mainly via the national secretariat.
The ‘Stakeholder engagement’ and ‘Outcomes and impact’ templates highlight the efforts carried out by the government on its follow-up on the establishment and monitoring of the local development funds (FMDL), which was a key campaigning item for civil society (see Requirement 7.4). It also highlights the creation of a central unit at the tax office to facilitate the collection and publication of company fiscal payments for the EITI. However, the government’s plans announced in early 2023 to redirect part of the FMDL funds to finance national security expenditures appeared to represent backsliding in past reforms in the transparency and accountability of subnational transfers of mining revenues. In its comments to the draft Validation report, the MSG disputes this characterisation and notes that company and civil society stakeholders have been consulted and, following discussion, a change in law was submitted to Parliament. Desk research shows that the law modifying the FMDL law was unanimously adopted on 25 July to allow a share of the FDML to be redirected to a fund for patriotic support (“Fonds de soutien patriotique (FSP)”). Nonetheless, the Secretariat notes announcements in March 2023 that the Government had been withholding half of the 2023 funds destined to the FMDL to “earmark” them for national security expenditures pending the FMDL law’s reform.41 Some press coverage (such as Mines Actu Burkina) appears to indicate that around half of the FMDL funds for the second half of 2022 (XOF 12bn out of a total of XOF 25.4bn) were retained to fund national security expenditures.
Dissemination efforts related to the EITI on behalf of government have mainly been carried out by the national secretariat. The ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template highlights the participation of government entities in the regional dissemination of EITI Reports (DG Mining and geology, cadastre office, environmental agency (ANEVE)). The line ministry has briefed the President on the key findings and recommendations on the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 EITI Reports.42 Yet, while government engagement in the EITI process has continued at the operational level, evidence reviewed in preparation of the draft Validation report appeared to indicate that the changes in high-level political positions had weakened the government’s effective leadership of the EITI process given the lack of evidence in the MSG’s Validation templates related to the new government’s public commitment to the EITI. In its comments on the draft Validation report, the MSG strongly disputes this characterisation and notes that high-level support continues, as indicated in the government’s recent published letter reiterating its commitment to the EITI.
Most significant aspects of Requirement 1.1 appear to have been addressed in the period under review (2020-2023), including the government’s recent (July 2023) public commitment to the EITI some ten months after it came to power in the September 2022 coup d’état. The MSG’s comments have argued strongly that all recent government decisions in the mining sector have been undertaken in a manner consultative of industry and civil society, even if the earmarking of a share of subnational mining transfers to national security appears to have pre-dated the legal reform process and the Council of Minister’s approval of the transfer of mining assets to AfroTurk appears to have pre-dated the formal license allocation process. Notwithstanding the MSG’s view that all recent government decisions have been made in consultation with other constituencies, the Secretariat considers that the objective of effective government leadership of the EITI process remains mostly met given the impact of government changes after the two coup d’états in 2022 on the constituency’s high-level leadership and follow-up on recommendations, as well as the impact of recent government decisions, such as the earmarking of FMDL funds for national security and gold requisitions, on the transparency in the management of mining revenues. Notwithstanding the appearance of legality in the government’s recent decisions in the mining sector, the objective of effective government leadership of the EITI process to support transparency and good governance in the extractive industries has been mostly fulfilled in the period since the previous Validation.
1.2 Company engagement
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 1.2 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Companies fully and actively engage in EITI reporting and participate in the MSG, and the broader constituency has opportunities to be informed and engaged in the EITI process. The recent government decisions to requisition gold production from certain mines (purchased at market prices) is covered under government engagement (see Requirement 1.1). Stakeholders consulted from other constituencies considered industry engagement and participation in the EITI as adequate.
Attendance at MSG meetings was very high for the six industry representatives, with the exception of the member from Endeavour Mining (Houndé et Karma), which only participated in three out of 18 meetings.43 All 16 material companies participated in reporting and supplied the necessary assurances (with one exception for the 2020 EITI Report). Three out of 16 companies did not provide legal ownership information.44 There were gaps in submission of beneficial ownership information, but consulted companies stated that this was more due to unfamiliarity with the reporting requirements.45 Companies participate in the EITI-BF working groups. The assessment of the representativeness of MSG members with respect to their wider industry constituency is covered under MSG oversight (see Requirement 1.4).
It is unclear from the terms of reference how the Chamber consults non-Chamber members and how companies that are not members of the Chamber can be nominated to represent companies on the MSG. However, the majority of mining companies appear to be members of the Chamber of Mines. There are no wholly Burkinabe-owned companies represented on the MSG.46 The constituency regularly meets (three times a year) and updates on EITI are channelled through the Chamber of Mines. Companies not represented on the MSG confirmed that they were consulted ad-hoc through the Chamber and feel adequately represented. In terms of topics to cover, consultations with companies not represented on the MSG highlighted the long processing times for mining licence applications and renewals as well as conflicts with artisanal miners as urgent governance issues to resolve.
Companies fund selected activities in the EITI work plan (22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199) and participate in outreach activities for the dissemination of EITI Reports. Company stakeholder highlighted in consultations that they also actively took part in explaining their contribution to the FMDL and have invited EITI stakeholders (including the national secretariat) to visit a mine to improve their understanding of mining operations. The ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template lists different activities where companies, mainly through the Chamber of Mines, draw on data from EITI disclosures in their communications. In its comments on the draft Validation report, the MSG emphasised consultations with all relevant stakeholders including mining companies on the government decisions to earmark a share of FMDL funds and gold requisitioned from mining companies for national security expenditures.
Company stakeholders confirmed that there were no obstacles to participation in the EITI for their constituency and that the national secretariat ensures that invitations for MSG meetings are sent sufficiently in advance. Company stakeholders also confirmed the possibility to input to the MSG meeting agenda.
1.3 Civil society engagement
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 1.3 is mostly met, which represents back-sliding since the previous Validation. Civil society organisations (CSOs) have been fully and actively engaged in the EITI process for much of the period under review since the previous Validation. The Secretariat’s view is that the government’s actions, especially since the second military coup d’état have led to a deterioration of civic space related to freedom of expression on extractive industry governance. Consultations and desk research identified breaches of the EITI protocol: Participation of civil society including the lack of an enabling environment for public expression that is critical of the government among the broader civil society constituency. In its comments to the draft Validation report the MSG strongly affirms that the requirement is fully met. The MSG shared the minutes of its 23 June 2023 meeting where the challenging security context was acknowledged. In this meeting, a memorandum on the freedom of press and expression was adopted stating that journalist intimidation were not carried out by the government and that there were ample platforms for critical and open discussion. It states that members of the MSG freely express themselves on all topics. The memorandum is adopted and published by the MSG with contributions from the Ministry of Communications, the Superior Communications Council and the private press. The MSG’s comments referenced several broadcast media reports and press articles reflecting public debate about recent government decisions in the extractive industries, including the requisitioning of gold purchased from mining companies and the earmarking of a share of subnational mining revenue transfers to national security, but the Secretariat considers that the public discussion of these issues has not included the expression of views critical of the government’s actions or questioning the reasons for these government decisions and their impact on transparency. Stakeholder consultations for this Validation also identified a lack of regular contact to mining communities and stakeholders in ASM regions.47 A detailed review of progress with Requirement 1.3 and adherence to the EITI protocol: Participation of civil society is provided in Annex A.
International rankings of civic space state that legal constraints and threats against journalists critical to the government have led to a worsening of the broader civic space environment since 2019. Desk research and consultations identified cases of threats against journalists, although all stakeholders consulted including from civil society stated that those were not directly related to the extractive industries and not perpetrated by the government. However, in a context of general mobilisation, removal of broadcasting licences of media outlets critical of the government’s actions, government decisions to earmark a share of subnational mining revenue transfers and requisitioned gold for national security purposes and reports of military violence against civilians indicate a worsening of civic space and environment for public expression by civil society. The environment of recrimination against media coverage critical of the military government has been extensively covered in international media, including the withdrawal of licenses of certain foreign media for their coverage of national security issues in Burkina Faso.
Whereas the International Secretariat acknowledges that there is ample evidence of civil society members and online media outlets using disclosures from the EITI to inform public debate (as documented in the ‘Outcomes and impact’ template), public debate over recent government decisions such as the earmarking of a share of subnational mining revenue transfers and requisitioned gold for national security purposes appears to have primarily focused on factual statements rather than debate over the detailed reasons for these recent government decisions and procedures or expression of views critical of the government’s actions and its impact on transparency. The barriers to freedom of expression and operation arise from the continued high tension linked to the fragile security situation. All stakeholders consulted in Burkina Faso denied that there were any taboo topics related to the EITI process of extractive industry governance. The MSG’s comments provide extensive documentation of public broadcasts and press articles (such as this April 2023 broadcast on RTB) that argue that all restrictions on freedom of expression and of the press are related to actions by actors not linked to the government. In its comments, the MSG also refers to the Burkina Faso’s score in Reporters without Borders’ (RsF) ranking of freedom of the press. However, the International Secretariat notes RsF’s recent statements (here and here) denouncing “disproportionate decisions that have the appearance of a direct injunction from the military authorities” and an open to letter to the Burkina Faso government calling for an end to press freedom violations in the country. Rsf also claims (here) that “the worsening political and security context has led to increased self-censorship and pressure.” Recent government actions to revoke licenses of certain foreign media in retribution for their coverage of national security issues, growing concerns over self-censorship as a consequence of government actions including on the part of RSF, and the lack of public debate raising questions on transparency that are critical of recent government decisions in the mining sector related to requisitioning mining revenues and physical gold for national security purposes raise concerns over the environment for freedom of expression critical of the government that is of fundamental importance to enabling genuine multi-stakeholder debate as part of the EITI process. Thus, the Secretariat’s view is that the environment for civil society engagement in the EITI process and public debate on extractive industry governance is not fully enabling the objective of Requirement 1.3 and there are credible concerns on the environment for free expression on issues covered by the EITI process due to fear of reprisal by authorities in retaliation for any criticism of the military government’s management of the economy, including the extractive industries.
In terms of civil society engagement in the EITI, the constituency’s participation in MSG meetings is robust, with the exception of members of Centre pour la Gouvernance Démocratique who only attended a third of MSG meetings (seven out of 18). Civil society are actively represented in all MSG working groups and discussions of the MSG, as reflected in meeting minutes (see Requirement 1.4). The broader civil society constituency engaged in the EITI is led by ORCADE (Organisation pour le Renforcement des Capacités et de Développement). The organisation until November 2022 led the National Council of CSOs, a network of CSOs including human rights activists, anti-corruption and pro-democracy groups and public finance experts. Jonas Hien has passed the leadership to a public finance expert Herman Doanio, but remains part of the leadership of the group that coordinates the civil society actors across the country.48 The network is often called upon by political leadership to share their views on important policy decisions. However, it is unclear whether the National Council of CSOs has been consulted on more recent decisions such as seizures of private property for national security purposes or the appropriation of FDML funds. The constituency organises consultation and dissemination events with its network three times a year. While these were not conducted physically in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, input was nevertheless sought in writing and in conversations. Physical events for coordination have resumed since 2022 and the broader civil society constituency beyond the MSG members were given the opportunity to input to the work plan and APR.
The EITI-BF “Stakeholder engagement” and “outcomes and impact” templates provide extensive examples of civil society public expression and engagement. Civil society continues to use the EITI platform to monitor changes achieved in the Mining Code. Nonetheless, the Secretariat’s assessment is that the environment for civil society engagement in the EITI process and public debate on extractive industry governance is not fully enabling progress towards the objective of Requirement 1.3 and that this environment has hindered the broader civil society engagement in free expression as envisioned in the EITI protocol: Participation of civil society, due to fear of reprisals from authority, particularly since September 2022.
1.4 MSG governance
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 1.4 is mostly met, without considerable improvements since the last Validation. While the EITI decree is enacted in practice, the company and civil society constituencies have not yet established clear nomination procedures that allow organisations or companies outside the existing members to participate in the MSG nominations process. This is particularly relevant because of upcoming renewals of MSG members planned for August 2023. Nonetheless, the Secretariat finds that the two constituencies have improved their outreach and coordination with their broader constituencies. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report strongly dispute the view that the government has taken unilateral actions in awarding mining licences outside of the statutory process, earmarked FMDL funds to national security without consultation with other constituencies, and requisitioned gold from mining companies without fair compensation and outside of the legal process (see Requirement 1.1). Yet there remains a need for greater accountability in the industry and civil society procedures for nominating their MSG representatives and for greater transparency in the MSG’s operations, including by improving transparency in the MSG’s deliberations by improving the accessibility of meeting records.
In the phase prior to the second coup d’état in September 2022, stakeholders consulted from all constituencies, including beyond the MSG’s membership, considered that the MSG was independent and exercised active and meaningful oversight of all aspects of EITI implementation, with the three constituencies’ interests considered in a consensual manner. Consulted MSG members considered that the MSG continued to exercise balanced oversight of the EITI process after the second coup d’état. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report included references to the minutes of a March 2023 MSG meeting, in which recent government decisions and developments in the mining sector were discussed including the requisitions of gold from certain mining companies and the award of licenses to the company AfroTurk. These MSG discussions were factual and focused on describing the situation, without apparent discussion on the reasons and motivations for these government decisions. The Secretariat considers that the lack of evidence of critical debate within the MSG on the government’s recent decisions in the mining sector, including changes to FMDL fund allocations and requisitions of gold from certain mining companies, combined with the continued lack of clarity around statutory industry and civil society nominations to the MSG and challenges in public access to MSG meeting records, raise questions around the MSG’s oversight and use of the EITI process to address extractive sector challenges of national priority.
While civil society and industry have adopted general procedures for nominating and changing their MSG representatives, these have not yet been publicly codified to date and stakeholders not represented directly on the MSG do not appear to know how to participate in each constituency’s MSG nominations procedures. This gap remains outstanding since the previous Validation. The companies’ constituency adopted Terms of Reference on 21 December 2022, confirming that the nominations procedure is conducted through a secret vote, but without additional clarifications on the process to be followed. The constituency’s MSG membership term length, mandate and methods for communicating between MSG and non-MSG members is also described and confirmed as applied in consultations. However, public documents do not describe how the constituency assembles mining and petroleum exploration companies to participate in the nomination of its MSG members (which the ToRs explicitly refer to in Article 2). Company stakeholders consulted confirmed their independence to nominate their own candidates. Civil society adopted its own Terms of Reference (referred to as Code de Conduite) in May 2019, although they do not describe how the constituency assembles members that are not already part of the MSG to nominate new civil society MSG members. The nomination clause refers to how civil society MSG members chose a member from their own organisation (Art. 8), but not how organisations not yet represented on the MSG can nominate their own candidate, and the process of election. Consulted civil society members confirmed their independence in nominating their own candidates, free of coercion.
Compared to the previous Validation, outreach and consultation efforts of civil society and companies to their broader constituencies have improved somewhat. The MSG’s ToR describing members’ roles and responsibilities have been in force since July 2019, and are followed in practice according to all stakeholders consulted. Representatives consulted from both constituencies confirmed that internal rules for changing MSG representatives have been followed in practice. The gender balance in the industry constituency of companies is overwhelmingly male (five out of six). In one of the minutes of the industry constituency’s meetings, members discussed the possibilities of alternates of the opposite sex.49 Three of the eight full members of the civil society constituency are women. The government constituency currently has no women MSG members. Stakeholders clarified that the regional MSGs, listed in the ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template, are no longer active.
Consultations confirmed that MSG members from different constituencies have sufficient capacity to carry out their duties. In terms of representation, consultations with members of civil society not represented on the MSG and organisations that partner with the EITI consider that the civil society constituency has had limited renewal in the past ten years. One stakeholder noted that mining regions and artisanal mining communities are not adequately represented on the MSG, given that the main CSOs engaged in the EITI process are based in the capital Ouagadougou.50 While the Secretariat acknowledges the limitations on effective participation and communication due to the security challenges, it considers the lack of codification of the specific nominations procedure for MSG members as a weakness that should be addressed to ensure that new organisations can be engaged in the process for appointing civil society’s representatives to the MSG.51 The companies represented on the MSG are representative of the large-scale mining industry and includes companies engaged in both exploration and production. The 27-member Chamber of Mines is the constituency coordinator, although most of its members are large-scale industrial mining companies. Artisanal and semi-mechanised mining companies are not represented on the MSG and it is unclear how these miners are consulted as part of the EITI process. For government, other constituencies confirmed that they believe the members adequately represent the government, with the Treasury holding a permanent observer post. In terms of balance of MSG representation, some companies considered that they are underrepresented with six company seats compared to 11 for government and eight for civil society, although other constituencies did not share this opinion.
The MSG’s governance documents continue to be the 2008 decree instituting the EITI and the MSG’s own ‘internal rules’ (règlement interieur) last updated in July 2019, while the 2019 decree52 codifies the MSG’s composition. The MSG’s internal rules cover the provisions listed in Requirement 1.4.b, and they appear to be followed in practice according to stakeholders consulted, including outreach activities and constituency coordination.53 MSG stakeholders confirmed that decision-making is conducted in an inclusive way and that they are treated as partners, recent unilateral government actions in the mining sector notwithstanding. Work plans, APRs and EITI Reports are approved by the MSG. All constituencies are represented in the working groups, as listed in the ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template for this Validation. Stakeholders consulted are not aware of breaches of the EITI Association code of conduct. The MSG’s internal rules (Article 20) specify the level of per diems (jetons de présence) per category of participant at MSG meetings. While stakeholder consultations confirmed that this is followed in practice, the actual practice of per diem payments does not appear to be recorded in any public document on the EITI Burkina Faso website. MSG meeting minutes are available online but are not clearly indexed on the website, and thus hard to find.54 Stakeholder consultations highlighted plans to change the legal status of the EITI to transform it into a government agency, although the earliest this would be taken forward would be 2024.
Overview of the extractive industries
3.1 Exploration data
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 3.1 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. The objective to ensure public access to an overview of the extractive sector in the country and its potential, including recent, ongoing and planned significant exploration activities, is fulfilled.
The 2020 EITI Report provides an overview of the extractive industries, through a table containing 13 mining projects in production phase and one project – the Orezone Bombore – at the development phase. For each project the date when production started, the number of years the mine is expected to last, the date the permit was granted, the surface of the project, the type of resources, and its localization. The report also provides current state – operations ongoing or stopped – of 30 mining deposits at operation phase and three companies at construction phase. In addition, a Geoportal57 provides access to geological, geophysical and geochemical data on a map. It is publicly available on BUMIGEB’s website and can be used to assess Burkina Faso’s mining potential.
Encouraged disclosures on reserves are published in the Report. Other encouraged disclosures such as a brief history of the extractive industries, information on other reserves and extractive commodities with significant economic potential and informal sector activities, including artisanal and small-scale mining potentials, are not disclosed.
6.3 Contribution of the extractive sector to the economy
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 6.3 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. The objective to ensure a public understanding of the extractive industries’ contribution to the national economy and the level of natural resource dependency in the economy is fulfilled and the publication of key data as recent as Q2 2022 is very encouraging and important to inform debate. While EITI Reports include a section on estimations of the informal sector, the same information has been included for the past four years. A more recent estimate – government or third party – is missing. While the new SOE ANEEMAS has gained a better understanding on ASM production and employment during the COVID-19 pandemic, this data has not been systematically captured or published.
Burkina Faso’s EITI Report and the national EITI website disclose data on the contribution of the extractive industries to the economy for 2020 as required. The number of employed persons in the extractive sector, by gender, and their percentage contribution towards total employment numbers, is also provided by the report. These figures are further disaggregated by company. The EITI-BF website contains two files for 2019 and 2020. The National Geological Survey entity (BUMIGEB) in December 2022 published key sector statistics as recent as Q2 202258, a cross-government effort involving the EITI-BF Secretariat. The EITI Report and the cited bulletin include detailed gender disaggregated employment data – the bulletin provides an overview by project and company and suppliers and nationality.
The estimate of the informal sector activity cited in the latest EITI report is the same as in the 2017 and 2018 Reports, and similar of the 2016 Report. According to the 2016 report mentioned as the first source, annual ASM production of gold is 9.35 tons while the 2018 report published by OECD mentions estimates from 20 to 25 tons per year. No other or more recent attempt to provide other methodologically sound estimate was made by the MSG for the period under review. Based on data from the Statistics Office (Direction générale des études et des statistiques sectorielles (DGESS), the report provides an estimate of the number of workers in the mining sector including formal artisanal miners, but does not specify the proportion of informal artisanal miners. Stakeholder consultations indicated that ANEEMAS had insights on ASM employment and production volumes, which had been gained during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 when the borders were closed for trade. However, the MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report categorically deny that ANEEMAS has any such estimates of ASM activities, as confirmed in an official letter from the Director General of ANEEMAS published on the EITI-BF website that states that the most recent estimates of ASM activities date from 2016. There are important opportunities in ANEEMAS’ engagement with the ongoing EITI-BF study on ASM and illicit financial flows, ongoing since 2022.
Legal and fiscal framework
2.1 Legal framework
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 2.1 is fully met, as in the previous Validation, with scope to be upgraded to exceeded with more sources of systematic disclosures of information, for instance on on-going and planned reforms.
While government websites provide some of the information in a dispersed manner, Burkina Faso has addressed all aspects of this requirement through EITI reporting, by providing summaries and descriptions of the legal environment and fiscal regime for the extractive sector, including the roles of government entities, the level of fiscal devolution and ongoing of planned reforms in its mining sector. EITI-BF’s website holds many of the decrees and laws that are relevant for EITI implementation. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argued for an upgrade in the assessment to ‘exceeded’, based on the view that the majority of information mandated by Requirement 2.1 were systematically disclosed on government websites. The Secretariat recognises this progress but notes that much of the information on fiscal devolution and ongoing and planned reforms remains only disclosed through EITI reporting and the EITI-BF website, rather than on the websites of relevant government entities.
To note, the overview of reforms that took place in 2020 includes a reference (among others) to decree 2020-0790 putting in place a committee for the follow-up on the respect for human rights in the mining sector. Every mining project is to have such a committee. For 2021, the ministerial decree 2021-1142 was put in place setting the minimum conditions for local content in the mining sector. Both decrees implement provisions foreseen by the 2015 Mining Code.
The Council of Ministers announced on 7 December 2022 that a revision of the 2015 Mining Code was foreseen.
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 2.4 is mostly met. Many contracts, including pre-dating 1 January 2021, and all licenses seem to be published according to the law, which explicitly mandates the publication of licenses and contracts. Burkina Faso did not maintain an overview of all active contracts during the period reviewed by the draft Validation report, but the MSG published a list of active licenses and contracts at end 2022 during the period for comments on the draft Validation report. However, the Secretariat's document review indicates that not all contracts since 1 January 2021 appear to have been published yet.
Article 15 of the 2015 Mining Code explicitly mandates the publication of all mining licences and contracts via the official gazette (Journal official). As the gazette is not available electronically70 EITI-BF has published licences and contracts on the EITI national website.71 A sample check showed that the full text of some licences that were allocated in December 2022 and January 2023 (as listed in the online cadastre) have been published on the Burkina Faso website. All extractives contracts except for one appear to include all annexes (for those checked). Disclosures include contracts and licenses signed before January 2021, dating back to 2003. Most contracts include the licence as annex, but licences are published separately as well on the EITI-BF website. A comparison between the list of active mines published in the statistical bulletin in December 2022 and the list of published contracts on EITI-BF show that 18 contracts of the 27 active mining projects have been published. There is no evidence that the MSG has considered the materiality of exploration licenses, although the Secretariat notes that the government’s disclosure policy covers both exploration and production rights. In its comments on the draft Validation report, the MSG highlighted the publication of the 18 contracts on the EITI-BF website, and noted that all contracts and licenses had been published in the official gazette. While the Secretariat recognises the EITI-BF work in improving access to the 18 key mining contracts, it has also faced challenges in accessing the full text of other mining licenses and contracts published in the official gazette (journal official).
Several of the mining sites listed as active have expired permits. These could have been renewed, but this is not reflected in the cadastre or the published contract. The 2021 contract disclosure plan72 presents a costing of the activities that led to the disclosure of the full text of licenses and contracts to the EITI-BF website, and the result is a rich compilation of documents. However, the plan does not include a list or an overview of all contract and licenses currently active or identify what amendments have been made to which contracts and licenses. This represents an obstacle to the overall objective of ensuring the public’s understanding of the contractual rights of extractive companies, particularly considering the high amount of awards/cancellation of mining rights in the country.
6.4 Environmental impact
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 6.4 remains not assessed, given that several encouraged aspects of this requirement remain to be addressed by Burkina Faso EITI.
The legal framework relative to environmental management is addressed in the 2020 EITI Report and the environmental contributions are published, including the procedures for Environmental Impact Assessments. The Agency responsible for the monitoring of environmental impact website does not seem to be available. However, relevant legal documents and procedures as well as reports are published on a dedicated section of the portal of the EITI, in an attempt to facilitate public access. It includes environmental impact studies, the environmental and social management plan for six mines, as well as the audits of these plans performed between 2018 and 2020. There is additional evidence of public disclosure of the evaluations performed on environmental impacts of extractive projects and the monitoring of extractive companies’ environmental obligations in practice, such as the 2021 Audit Report performed by the supreme audit institution (SAI or Cour des Comptes) on the environmental rehabilitation of industrial mining sites. The three key findings are firstly, that the ministry in charge of the environment has not put in place functioning and mechanisms in place to ensure the effective issuance of environmental feasibility opinions (avis sur la faisabilité environnementale (AFE)). The SAI recommends to make all relevant documentation publicly available. Secondly the report finds that The ministry of Environment, Mines and Territorial authorities have not set up functioning mechanisms to monitor companies' Environmental and Social impact management plans (Plan de gestion environnementale et sociale (PGES)), and that those plans are not publicly available. Thirdly, the SAI finds that the different bodies charged with overseeing mite site closures are understaffed to effectively carry out their duties.
According to the 2020 EITI Report, the environmental expenditures are limited to the payments made to the closing and rehabilitation fund of mining sites (Fonds de Réhabilitation et de fermeture des mines), seven companies having contributed for a total of XOF 19 million. It remains unclear why only seven out of 18 material mining companies made actual payments in 2020 to the fund.
2.2 Contract and license allocations
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 2.2 is mostly met, which represents backsliding compared to the previous Validation. While the descriptions of procedures and licence types are comprehensive in the 2020 EITI Report, the EITI's review of material deviations from the applicable legal and regularly framework builds on the work on statutory audit institutions but has not yet been expanded to cover all types of extractive licenses both awarded and transferred in the period under review. More recent audit findings point to underlying governance issues that could be addressed by EITI implementation, given extensive non-trivial deviations from statutory procedures in the awards of gold exploration licenses in particular.
The 2020 EITI Report notes that formal licence allocations and transfers are governed by the Mining Code and by Decree 2017/036 of 26 January 2017 on licence allocation. Mining licences in Burkina Faso are awarded on a first come first serve basis by the DGMG. The MSG comments on the draft Validation report clarify that the award of mining licenses can be based on either a Decree agreed by the Council of Ministers or by order (arrêté) of the Minister of Mines. ANEEMAS also signs agreements with artisanal miners, although the MSG comments on the draft Validation report clarify that these agreements with ANEEMAS relate to management conventions to better oversee artisanal miners, rather than authorisations for artisanal mining activities. The 2020 EITI Report notes that 151 licences were allocated in 2020.78 All licenses awarded in 2020 are listed in Annex 18 of the 2020 EITI Report. The 2020 EITI Report notes that two production licenses, two industrial exploration permits, and one quarrying license were transferred or withdrawn.
On technical and financial criteria, the EITI Report lists the minimum statutory documents required for awards of exploration permits, industrial small and large-scale mining permits, semi-mechanical artisanal permits, quarrying permits and in the case of competitive bidding. It is noted that exploration permits are subject to verification of the number of exploration licenses held by the applicant, with a maximum of three licenses for natural persons and seven licenses for legal entities. The 2020 report notes that other than the payment of taxes and administrative fees, no precise technical or financial criteria are considered when approving license awards and transfers in Burkina Faso. This was confirmed by several stakeholders during consultations. In its comments on the draft Validation report, the MSG confirms that the only technical and financial criteria that are statutorily defined are those in the technical mining license award guide published on the EITI-BF website. The National Mines Commission, which is in principle responsible for examining applications and giving technical advice, does not publish its work or any summary of the analyses of the feasibility studies (financial, technical, project analysis) submitted to them for license applications, as only reports on environmental impact studies are made available to the public. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argue that the EITI Standard does not require the publication of the National Mines Commission’s work. Rather, the National Mines Commission’s work is described as an intermediary step, which leads to the award of mining licenses that are then publicly disclosed once awarded.
On transfers, there are no details in the EITI Reports on the companies that transferred licences or the names of the companies to whom each licence was transferred. The names of the transferees are indicated on the open data portal79 for 2021, but not for the year under review. In the online cadastre, under the tab “Transactions” it is possible to filter by type “transfer” and status “application granted”, but the information shown does not display the companies involved in the transaction. However, during the period for MSG comments on the draft Validation report in July 2023, the EITI-BF website published a list of mining licenses that were transferred in the period 2020-2023, including the license name and names of companies transferring and receiving each license.
On renewals, while the report lists 91 renewals, the online cadastre lists 71, an apparent inconsistency. However, the MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argue that such comparisons are not based on correct information, given that the dates of actual license renewals and transfers are not publicly accessible from the online cadastral portal, which only provides the dates at which such renewals and transfers are requested (not the final renewal or transfer decision date). Thus, the MSG comments confirm that the number of 91 renewals quoted in the EITI Report is correct. The draft Validation report also highlighted news reports regarding the transfers of mining licenses to the Turkish company Afro Turk for the manganese site Tambao and the gold mine Inata, which were not documented in the cadastre.80 However, the MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report explain that the March 2023 decision by the Council of Ministers consisted of an agreement to the transfer of these mining assets, but that the subsequent license award process was only concluded in late June 2023, after which the two license awards were duly recorded in the mining cadastre.
The 2020 EITI Report, as well as an audit report by the Supreme Audit Institution81 on gold exploration licenses and a Technical General Inspectorate report82, note several deviations from the statutory procedures for the awards, transfers and renewal of licenses. It is to note that the sample reviewed in the EITI Report did not cover licence renewals (91 renewals vs 128 awards). The deviations listed relate to delays in the processing of applications, overlaps in licenses awarded, the lack of monitoring of the mining activities and the partial collection of revenues from these activities. These shortcomings are often noted as a consequence of the high volume of licence applications, renewals and transfers in the country coupled with inadequate financial and human resources at the Ministry and its cadastre department. It is not clear how beneficial owners of companies could be assessed in the current set-up (see Requirement 2.5). The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argue strongly that the publication of the results of the review of licensing practices related to gold exploration licenses was sufficient to meet EITI Requirement 2.2.a.iv on the assessment of non-trivial deviations from statutory procedures in licensing practices.
Consulted stakeholders did not express any concerns over any governance challenges in licencing practices, other than some industry stakeholders’ concerns over the perception of the administrative process for awarding licenses being excessively time-consuming. The Independent Administrator noted several weaknesses regarding the efficiency of the system of granting these permits, namely a lack of criteria on the technical and financial capacity of the applicant to meet the expected expenditure to implement the work plan and achieve the desired results of the activity in question, and the mass granting of research permits against a limited granting of production licenses. Nonetheless, the MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argue strongly that EITI reporting has provided a sufficient review of non-trivial deviations from statutory licensing procedures in practice. The Secretariat welcomes the publication of the SAI’s audit report on gold exploration licensing practices, but highlights the need for the EITI reporting process to provide an assessment of non-trivial deviations in the awards and transfers of all types of extractive licenses in the period under review. While the EITI process building on the statutory controls by audit authorities is welcomed as an example of good practice, the review of licensing practices should be broadened to cover all types of extractive licenses awarded and transferred in the period under review by each EITI reporting cycle.
The above-mentioned reports carry important information on the weaknesses of licence allocations and transfers. Given that the 2017-036 decree is currently under review, there is scope for the EITI to seize this opportunity to strengthen the licence allocation system which can be administered by the resources available. EITI-BF may consider with stakeholders how the checking of legal and beneficial owners of licence applicants can be integrated to the administrative workflow, given that currently there are no plans to make beneficial ownership data accessible digitally (through a database) (see Requirement 2.5). The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report reject the reference to beneficial ownership disclosures in relation to the license allocation process, arguing that the assessment of beneficial ownership disclosures should be confined to the assessment of Requirement 2.5.
On contract awards, the 2020 EITI Report lists the conditions for the signature of a contract and provides a list of active contracts. None was concluded in 2020. It is not clear if any of the terms of the contracts were altered in the period under review (see Requirement 2.4). The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report strongly reject the allegation of opacity in the management of mining contracts in Burkina Faso, arguing that there were no amendments to mining contracts in 2020.
2.3 Register of licenses
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 2.3 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted were broadly satisfied with the availability of mining license and contract information. The online mining cadastre is an improvement on previous years. The Secretariat’s view is that the comprehensiveness and reliability of the mining cadastre could be improved, including by following up on audit findings from the Supreme Audit Institution (Cour des Comptes), but that the information listed under Requirement 2.3.b appears to be available for all active extractive licenses.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy has deployed an online cadastre which provides all information listed under Requirement 2.3.b. Application dates are not part of the license record, although they are listed in the view “Applications” as “Registration date”.83 The availability of the application date in the cadastre is an improvement on the past Validation. Detailed views on the licence (without application date) and list of licences can be downloaded in PDF. Dates of award and expiry are now available for each license on the online mining cadastre84, which is an improvement since the previous Validation. However, the online cadastre is very slow to load data and view individual records. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argue that the speed of loading of license data should not affect the assessment of data available on the cadastral portal, which the Secretariat agrees with.
While there are some minor information gaps in the 2020 EITI Report, including the lack of information on the awarding Decree for one exploration license and missing dates of application for six (out of 128) licenses, the Secretariat’s view is that these are not material gaps. Indeed, the MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report highlight the publication of the dates of expiry of all 317 mining licenses and authorisations active as of end-2022 on the EITI-BF website, published in July 2023 during the period for MSG comments.
However, the timeliness of the cadastre is questioned by the Cour des Comptes audit on gold exploration license awards, spot checks and consultations with various stakeholders indicated that at least one mining license owned by Wahgnion Gold Operations, a material company, was missing from the cadastre. However, the MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report highlight that the Wahgnion license is in fact recorded in the mining cadastre under the code 735. In addition, of the 683 valid licences listed, 317 have already expired but continue to be marked as “valid”, which appeared to raise questions about the reliability of the information contained in the cadastre. However, the MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report highlight the dynamic nature of the mining cadastre, which is updated following each new licensing activity, noting for example that there were 697 active mining licenses as of 4 July 2023, compared to the 683 mining licenses noted as active when the draft Validation report was being prepared.
It was also brought to the attention of the Secretariat that the permits operated by the SEPB were not yet recorded in the cadastre. With its phosphate activity dating from 1978, the SEPB is currently operating without an exploitation permit. The SOE has sustained a dialogue with the EITI and the relevant ministries to formalise its activity, which includes the additions of its permits to the register of licenses. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report explain that SEPB does not feature in the mining cadastre because it does not hold any active production licenses (exploitation permits), but notes that the SOE is in the process of regularising its situation (presumably through the award of a production license), as described in a November 2022 letter published on the EITI-BF website in July 2023 during the period for MSG comments.
2.5 Beneficial ownership
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 2.5 is partly met. Stakeholders consulted considered there were important improvements achieved in the past three years and that the objective of this requirement is mostly fulfilled. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report reiterate the MSG’s view that the objective has been mostly met. The Secretariat’s view is that, while an enabling legal and regulatory environment for the collection of beneficial owners for all extractives companies has been put in place and is in the early stages of implementation, the objective is not yet met given the lack of systematic collection and disclosure of legal and beneficial owners of companies applying for and holding extractives licences. Indeed, the MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report note that beneficial ownership information has not yet been collected from companies applying for extractive licenses given the lack of an enabling legal framework for the collection of such information at the application stage, which the MSG explains is one of the reasons for the ongoing reforms of the Mining Code. Nonetheless, in the interim, the MSG's comments note that the Ministry of Mines is “taking account” of the need to collect beneficial ownership information as part of the license award process, even if the Secretariat is not able to access any such beneficial ownership information collected to date. Furthermore, the underlying objective is not met since public access to records is only given if “legitimate interest” can be demonstrated. Besides the review in the EITI Report of ownership disclosure by the selection of companies covered by the EITI Report, there is no review by EITI-BF of the status or risk-based approach of beneficial ownership data collection and disclosure. Few material companies submitted the requested ownership information for the 2020 EITI Report.
Burkina Faso EITI has been a key driver in the formulation and implementation of legal reform. The MSG has agreed a definition of the term beneficial owner within Decree No. 2021-0493 promulgated on 7 June 2021. This decree was specific to the extractive sector and created a declaration requirement for companies applying for licenses, owning shares in companies applying for licenses and holding licenses. The decree instituted a register of beneficial owners lodged at Ouagadougou’s Trade Court, as well as a parallel register of beneficial owners lodged within each applicable company. The Trade Court’s register of beneficial owners is accessible to the public without any fee, but the information is only disclosed if the request to the judge is justified and supported by legitimate interest for accessing the data. The 2022 decree extended the requirement for ownership disclosures to all companies. The threshold for disclosing beneficial ownership information is set at 25% in all economic sectors. The principle of a national register of beneficial owners lodged at Ouagadougou’s Trade Court is maintained, alongside the requirement for companies to maintain updated beneficial ownership information on their own companies. The definition of beneficial owner is aligned with Requirement 2.5.f.i and takes international norms and relevant national laws into account. It specifies reporting obligations for PEPs (article 13).
The 2022 decree requires the establishment of a national register of beneficial owners within the trade court (article 4)), to be monitored by the judge in charge of the commercial register (RCCM). The accuracy of the beneficial ownership information to be provided is, according to the decree, assessed by the authorities of the trade register. The 2022 budget requires companies registered in Burkina Faso to submit their beneficial ownership information with their annual tax filings. It also contains a provision for a penalty of XOF 500,000 for the failure to declare. It further states that companies must maintain updated records of their beneficial owners and present the information on request. At the initiative of EITI-BF a joint template was agreed for the declaration of beneficial owners, the Trade court and the tax office. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report highlight reforms to the General Tax Code (Articles 96.1-96.5) following the enactment of the 2023 government budget (loi des finances), which the MSG explains reinforced provisions for the identification and disclosure of beneficial owners of companies. The MSG’s comments emphasise the obligation for all companies to report their beneficial ownership information as part of their tax reporting obligations, with 2000 companies across all economic sectors having reported such information to the Tax Department to date.
Burkina Faso’s beneficial ownership road map covering 2016-2019 was adopted by the MSG in 2016, with another one published in December 2019 covering 2020-2022.86 The 2021 progress report87 indicates that the MSG had discussions to draft and comment on the 2021 decree on beneficial ownership before it was approved by the Council of Ministers. A workshop was organised in July 2021 to raise awareness and support the implementation of the new decree on beneficial ownership. The 2022-2024 work plan contains activities on beneficial ownership transparency, consisting in disseminating the decree and extending beneficial ownership disclosure to other sectors. The MSG continued to play an active role in 2022 by discussing and approving the beneficial ownership templates to be used as per the 2022 decree.
With regards to broader beneficial ownership disclosures, in December 2022 the judge in charge of monitoring the register of beneficial owners within Ouagadougou’s trade court officially requested all companies to declare their beneficial owners to the register, regardless of their sector of activity.88 The request of information requires a form to be filled, which includes the identity of the beneficial owner(s), including nationality, country of residence, and identification of politically exposed persons, the level of ownership and details about how ownership or control is exerted. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report also confirm that the beneficial ownership reporting templates for the 2020 EITI Report explicitly required information on any politically exposed persons. With regards to public access, the 2022 decree stipulates that beneficial ownership information is accessible for free, albeit based on legitimate interest only. This implies that beneficial ownership information is not foreseen to be freely available online, without the need for specific requests to access the data. Government entities shall have access to beneficial ownership information to carry out its functions. Stakeholder consultations have confirmed that the register is paper-based, and thus the request for records will be needed to be filled manually. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argue that implementation of beneficial ownership transparency must take place within the context of national laws, which restrict the disclosure of any personal information on individuals subject a judge’s authorisation. The MSG explains that this is the reason why disclosure of beneficial ownership data can only be upon a justified request to a judge based on legitimate reasons for access to this data as prescribed in Government Order (arrêté) 2023-0097/MEFP/MJDHRI of March 2023.
During consultations, the authorities indicated that no information was provided by companies yet for the register of beneficial owners, and that it was first necessary to raise awareness about the new legislation among extractive companies subject to reporting before moving to enforcement of the new legal provisions. Burkina Faso’s 2020 EITI Report has assessed and documented gaps in disclosure of beneficial ownership information, but only for the 17 material companies within the report. This assessment shows that almost none of the corporate entities that had applied for or hold a participating interest in an exploration or production oil, gas or mining license or contract, have disclosed the requested ownership information. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report confirm that the names of material companies that did not report their beneficial ownership information is provided in Annex 3 of the 2020 EITI Report, which the Secretariat confirms. The MSG’s comments also highlighted the MSG’s discussions around the reliability of beneficial ownership data collected at a September 2020 meeting, as part of the preparation of the government decree on beneficial ownership. The MSG argues that it has discussed the status of beneficial ownership disclosure as part of the preparation of every EITI Report since 2019, including relevant stakeholders beyond MSG members. For ten out of 11 material companies that are wholly owned subsidiaries of publicly listed companies, the name of the stock exchange has been disclosed within the EITI Report. The link to the stock exchange filings where they are listed is mentioned for all companies, except for one company (SOMITA SA). The five privately owned companies failed to declare their beneficial owners. There is no evidence of the MSG discussing the gaps or the reliability of the disclosed ownership information. There is no evidence of the MSG formulating a risk-based approach for the collection of data on companies outside of the reporting scope, such as companies holding multiple exploration licences. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argue that a beneficial ownership register has been established and that 2000 companies from all economic sectors have provided beneficial ownership information, which is publicly accessible “upon request”. The MSG’s comments highlighted ongoing plans for the establishment of a public beneficial ownership register accessible online.
Regarding legal owners and share of ownership of companies, Burkina Faso’s report indicates that this information in principle is obtainable at the commercial register (RCCM), free of charge, upon request. However, given that the register is not accessible online and that there is no evidence of EITI-BF testing the accessibility of legal ownership information in this way, there remain questions about whether shareholder information is indeed publicly accessible for all companies in the extractive industries. The EITI Report identifies the shareholders of the 17 material companies in the scope of the report, but not the legal owners of all companies applying for, or holding, a licence. A closer review of the legal owners of material companies highlights some gaps in shareholder information provided, such as the owners of the company Nordgold, cited in recent national press coverage of the extractive industries.
2.6 State participation
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 2.6 is mostly met, which represents backsliding from the previous Validation. Stakeholders consulted unanimously considered the underlying objective of transparency and accountability of SOEs and state participation in the extractive sector was met. However, the Secretariat considers that the objective of transparency in state participation in the extractives is only mostly fulfilled given the lack of ANEEMAS reporting as a SOE for the EITI, alongside gaps in the other three SOEs’ EITI disclosures.
In its assessment of the materiality of extractive SOEs, the 2020 EITI Report lists three SOEs involved in the mining sector of Burkina Faso, namely SOPAMIB, BUMIGEB and SEPB, although it clarifies that only the latter two are active. In addition, it describes the roles of two public agencies relevant in the mining sector, ANEEMAS and ONASSIM. The ONASSIM’s mission is to provide security services to mining projects and transportation of minerals. Therefore, ONASSIM does not participate in the upstream extractives industries and not considered as an SOE for the EITI.
While ANEEMAS is not considered an SOE in the EITI Report, as it is incorporated as a parastatal entity (a public establishment as noted in the MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report), the Secretariat’s view is that it is to be considered represent a form of state participation in the extractive industries as it acts as a buyer of artisanal mined gold. The fast-growing value of funds managed by ANEEMAS (XOF 1.983 bn, a six-fold increase to the previous year) only contributes to the importance of transparency and accountability in the entity’s operations. Nevertheless, the 2020 EITI Report provides some of the information on the financial relationship of ANEEMAS and the state required by the EITI Standard. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report strongly reject the categorisation of ANEEMAS as a SOE for EITI reporting purposes, emphasising that it is a public establishment created without paid-up capital. The MSG refers to the EITI-BF definition of SOEs for EITI reporting purposes agreed in 2019, which does not include such public establishments.
All information on the financial relations between the three SOEs (considered as SOEs by EITI-BF) and the state is comprehensively disclosed in the 2020 EITI Report. A dedicated section on state participation provides a detailed explanation of the statutory rules regarding the financial relationship between the state and the two active SOEs classified as such in the EITI Report, and describes the practice of financial relations in 2020 between BUMIGEB and SEPB and the state. However, with regards to ANEEMAS, the 2020 EITI Report describes the statutory rules related to distribution of profits and retained earnings, but does not explain whether ANEEMAS is statutorily entitled to reinvest in their operations. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report explain that, as a public establishment, ANEEMAS automatically reinvests all of its retained earnings into its operations. While the EITI Report does not explicitly describe ANEEMAS’ entitlement to raise third-party financing, it does explain that one of the sources of its funding is advance payments from buyers. This implies that ANEEMAS cannot raise third-party debt or equity finance beyond such advance payments, but this is not explicitly stated in the EITI Report. With regards to the practice of ANEEMAS’ financial relations with the state, the EITI Report provides the value of profits that were retained in 2020 and the value of its third-party financing through advance payments by the Belgian buyer, but it does not provide the value of any reinvestments by ANEEMAS in 2020.
The EITI Report states that the state and SOEs did not provide loans or loan guarantees to extractive companies in 2020. However, there is evidence in press coverage that there was an outstanding loan from the government to the mining company Société des mines de Belahouro (SMB) as of 2020, valued at over USD 3.5m. This implies that the 2020 EITI Report’s coverage of state loans to mining companies was not comprehensive of all loans outstanding in 2020. However, the MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argue that this does not constitute a government loan to SMB, but rather an arrear in payments to government by SMB, that does not constitute a loan given the lack of any financial transfer from the government to SMB (given the categorisation of the USD 3.5m as arrears in payments to government by SMB).
The 2020 EITI Report presents the materiality of revenues from the government's minority interests in companies holding mining production licenses, which resulted in six companies paying dividends to the state, totalling of XOF 6.499 billion in 2020, disaggregated by company. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report clarify that the payment of dividends in 2020 related to profits recorded in 2019. The EITI 2020 Report contains a list of the 25 government's direct minority holdings in the mining sector and a description of the conditions associated with the state's 10% free share of mining projects, as well as the state share of mining projects. There have been no changes in ownership between 2019 and 2020. In terms of dividends paid by SOEs to the State, no payment has been recorded in 2020. Of the 25 companies where the government holds a 10% interest, only six made dividend payments to the government in 2020 (based on their 2019 financial results).89 The reasons why the other 19 mining companies in which the state holds a minority interest did not pay dividends in 2020 is not explained in the EITI Report. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report provide the reasons for the lack of dividend payments by the other 19 extractive companies in which the state holds equity, including a lack of activities in 2019 (in the case of Nordgold Samtenga SA), delays in construction works by certain mining production license holders (such as Kiaka SA, Konkéra SA, Nordgold Yéou SA, and Orezone Bomboré SA), the lack of profits recorded by some companies (such as Nantou Mining SA, Somita SA, Bouroum, Taparko Roxgold SA, and Riverstone Karma), and delays in the finalisation of mining projects by some mining companies (such as Somisa SA and Wahgnion Gold Operations SA).
Both SEPB and BUMIGEB publish their annual financial statement through the Ministry of Mines.90 During the period for comments on the draft Validation report in July 2023, the EITI-BF website published the financial statements of ANEEMAS.
4.2 In-kind revenues
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 4.2 is not applicable in the period under review, as in the previous Validation. There was consensus among stakeholders consulted that extractive companies do not make in-kind payments to government collecting agencies. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective of ensuring transparency in the sale of in-kind revenues of minerals in the period under review is not applicable given that the government does not collect any such revenues at present.
4.5 SOE transactions
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.5 is fully met. Most stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of transparency in SOE transactions had been fulfilled with the 2019 EITI Report, which was broadly considered as providing the most comprehensive disclosures of SOE transactions in the public domain to date.
The only revenues collected by the SOEs is a service fee paid to the BUMIGEB (see section 188.8.131.52 of the 2020 EITI Report), which amounts to XOF 38m, or 0,013% of the total government revenues. The proceeds of sales of phosphates for the SEPB is also mentioned, although it does not seem to constitute a fiscal payment from extractive companies to the SEPB.
Based on the 2020 EITI Report, the Secretariat understands that SEPB and BUMIGEB did not make significant payments to the state in 2020 outside of the regular payments they are subject to. For the payment streams common to all companies, SEPB made a total contribution of XOF 26m (less than 0,01% of total revenues). In terms of transfers from the state to the SOEs, the 2020 EITI Report lists the transfers towards the SEPB, BUMIGEB, ANEEMAS and ONASSIM. These transfers are sorted between investment and operating subsidies. In 2020, the SEPB received close to XOF 440m, and BUMIGEB XOF 3.6bn.
6.2 SOE quasi-fiscal expenditures
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 6.2 is not applicable in the year under review, as in the previous Validation. Some stakeholders consulted considered that the sale of phosphates at a subsidised price to the domestic market could be considered quasi-fiscal expenditures. Each sale is disclosed in Annex 19 of the 2020 EITI Report, including the identity of the buyer, the sale contract number, volume and value. In total, the sales amounted to XOF 230m. While further calculations of the value of the subsidy on phosphate sales could be helpful to support public debate on the level of state support for domestic phosphate sales, the Secretariat’s view is that this requirement is not applicable given that the funding for this subsidy is from the SOE’s own revenues, rather than revenues that it collects on behalf of the state, and that it is of very marginal value.
Production and exports
3.2 Production data
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 3.2 is mostly met, which represents backsliding from the previous Validation. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective of this requirement, to ensure public understanding of extractive commodities production levels and the valuation of extractive commodity output, is mostly fulfilled given the gaps in disclosures related to artisanal and small-scale mining production that imply that a comprehensive picture of the country’s mineral output has not yet been disclosed. Reconciliation of data has allowed to assess the reliability of industrial mining production data. However, Burkina Faso’s EITI reporting has continued to provide only outdated estimates of ASM production to date. In its comments on the draft Validation report, the MSG argued that it was taking the issue of ASM seriously, as evidenced by its study on ASM and illicit financial flows that has been ongoing since 2022. The MSG’s comments argue that the MSG considers the objective of Requirement 3.2 to have been fulfilled, given that disclosures related to ASM are considered only encouraged under Requirement 3.2. While the Secretariat notes that disclosures on ASM are encouraged under the technical aspects of the requirement on production data, it considers that estimates of such activities are crucial to fulfilling the objective of ensuring public understanding of mineral production levels, particularly of gold, and the valuation of extractive commodity output, given the significance of ASM’s contribution to Burkina Faso’s total gold production levels.
The 2020 EITI Report provides production volumes and values disaggregated by commodity. This information is further disaggregated by company, project and region, sourced from the mining sector regulators (the « Direction Génerale des Mines et de la Géologie » and the « Direction Générales des Carrières »). In an effort to reflect a more comprehensive view of total mineral production, the report also compared production data received from government source with information obtained from companies, and finds, despite reconciliation, that significant discrepancies remain, totalling 1.12 tons for gold and 60.17 kilograms for silver. The report includes a recommendation to improve data reliability through further analysis of the discrepancies and involvement of all relevant government agencies for better harmonisation of production data reported. The information on the discrepancies provided by the report contributes to reaching the objective of having a basis for addressing production related issues in the extractive industries. Some excel datasets including times series data on production are published on the EITI’s open data portal91, with the most recent data from 2020.
The report also contains production data on ASM for the gold purchased by the government’s gold buying desks (comptoirs d’or). Formalised artisanal gold production provided by the report is 0.27 tons, valued at USD 12.9m, although the data is sourced from studies published in 2016 and 2018. Consultations with ANEEMAS found that the closure of borders during 2020 had given them more understanding on the volume of gold extracted. Burkina Faso could build on the experiences of the first years of operationalisation of ANEEMAS to compile production estimates on a quarterly basis, by region where ANEEMAS is present, to contribute to the underlying objective and complement the existing data from large-scale and licenced ASM.
3.3 Export data
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 3.3 is mostly met, which represents backsliding from the previous Validation. While the export volumes and values from industrial mining are disclosed and reconciled in the 2020 EITI Report, the absence of estimates of smuggling supports the Secretariat’s view that the objective of ensuring public understanding of extractive commodities export levels and the valuation of extractive commodity exports, as a basis for addressing export related issues in the extractive industries, is only mostly fulfilled. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argue that the MSG considers the objective of Requirement 3.3 to have been fulfilled, given that disclosures related to ASM are considered only encouraged under Requirement 3.3. The MSG’s comments argue that it is taking the issue of ASM seriously, as evidenced by its study on ASM and illicit financial flows that has been ongoing since 2022. Nonetheless, the Secretariat considers that estimates of informal gold exports are crucial to fulfilling the objective of ensuring public understanding of mineral export levels, particularly of gold, and the valuation of extractive commodity exports, given the significance of ASM’s contribution to Burkina Faso’s total gold export levels.
The 2020 EITI Report documents total export volumes and the value of exports by commodity. This information is further disaggregated by company, project and region. Both the export level and value are provided, as well as the country of destination of exports, sourced from the customs authorities. In an effort for a more comprehensive understanding of mineral exports, the report compared export data sourced from the customs authorities with information obtained from companies, and finds, despite reconciliation, that significant discrepancies remain, totalling 4.79 tons for gold and 24.54 kilograms for silver. The report provides a recommendation to strengthen data reliability through further analysis of the discrepancies and involvement of all relevant government agencies for better harmonisation. The information on the discrepancies provided by the report contributes as a result of reconciling the export data from gold issued from industrial mining has contributed to aligning measurement methods, according to stakeholder consultations.
However, neither the report or other publicly available documents provide information on estimates on informal gold exports (smuggling) in the period under review, despite this being a pervasive issue in the country, undermining revenue collection and potentially contributing to the financing of certain armed groups. The absence of an estimate or a discussion of informal mineral exports as part of EITI implementation means that the necessary data to address issues related to exports is not available, and hence the objective is considered to be mostly met. Stakeholder consultations have not raised gold smuggling as a particular area of concern, despite the significant public debate over this issue.
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.1 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Stakeholders confirmed that the comprehensive disclosure of all material payments and revenues has allowed citizens to have a solid understanding of the contribution of industrial mining to government revenues. EITI figures are frequently cited in media coverage and contribute to public understanding. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective of transparency in government extractive revenues has been achieved, even if clarifications of total government revenues are needed in future EITI reporting.
Burkina Faso has continued publishing conventional EITI Reports during the COVID-19 pandemic, publishing 2018 EITI Report in December 2020, the 2019 EITI Report in February 2021 and the 2020 EITI Report in June 2022. The MSG’s materiality decisions for both revenue streams and companies are described in the 2020 EITI Report and documented in the November 2021 MSG meeting minutes. The threshold for payments was set at USD 16,000, less than 0.1% of total government revenues, which represents a de-fact threshold of zero and ensures the comprehensive coverage of all extractive revenues collected from material companies. For social and environmental payments, no threshold was applied. The selection of extractive companies based on each entity’s aggregate payments to government in 2020 exceeding USD 1.3m (XOF 800m). The coverage given the full unilateral government disclosure is 96.87% with 17 of total of 619 companies reporting for reconciliation. The materiality threshold for selecting companies is the same as in the previous EITI Report. No materiality threshold was applied for SOEs. The retained revenue streams are described in the annex to the report and include the revenue streams as defined under Requirement 4.1.c. All 17 companies supplied their reporting templates and the summary payments per company are available in the annex. The MSG has identified the government entities receiving significant payments and full unilateral disclosure was done for 2020. The companies’ audited financial statements were submitted to the IA, but are not available publicly.
While EITI Burkina Faso’s materiality decisions appear reasonable, its calculations of total government revenues over-state the value of government revenues by considering the total value of gold sales by ANEEMAS to the Belgian buyer AFFINOR to represent government revenues, when in fact only the profit margin recorded by ANEEMAS on its purchases of ASM gold and sales to AFFINOR should have been considered government revenues. Nonetheless, the Secretariat’s review of materiality calculations indicate that the selection of material revenue streams and companies would not have been affected by a lower estimate of government revenues from ANEEMAS’ gold trading activities. Therefore, despite the over-estimation of government extractive revenues, the Secretariat considers that all technical aspects of Requirement 4.1 have been addressed.
The 2020 EITI Report publishes, for the first time, unilateral government disclosures on payments to government from mining contractor companies. It lists the top six contractor companies by payments to government and their contribution (in aggregate) by revenue streams, borders fees and taxes representing the most important one. Thirteen contractor companies, listed in the report, make up for 98% of government revenues from mining contractors. The report discloses contractor payments in disaggregate, not broken down by company and revenue stream.
Going beyond the minimum required, the 2020 EITI Report also provides some estimates of what government mining revenues were expected for 2020. With the aim of tracing payments to the local development fund (FMDL) the 2019 and 2020 EITI Reports effectively identify differences between the value of some company payments of taxes defined by the mining code and the value of what was invoiced. Tables 70 and 75 state that XOF 10.3bn in area taxes and XOF 24.3bn in royalty payments were outstanding at the end of 2020. The total (XOF 34.3bn) represents 32% of mining taxes received in 2020 (XOF 106bn). In addition, table 76 points to a gap of XOF 29.7bn in company revenues invoiced to be directly transferred to the FMDL, which was not paid. In total, that means that the EITI Report has identified XOF 62.5bn of unpaid but invoiced payments to government from companies. Burkina Faso could consider a systematic review of extractive companies’ payments to government compared to the requirements of the fiscal regime for forthcoming reporting, further investigating the reason for gaps between the amount invoiced and the amount paid, by company, for the most important project-level payments.
4.4 Transportation revenues
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.4 is not applicable, as in the previous Validation. The 2020 EITI Report describes that, while the transportation of minerals requires an administrative permit, that does not give rise to any transportation-related payments to government. The state does not provide any transportation services to the extractive industries.
4.8 Data timeliness
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.8 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Government, industry and civil society stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of ensuring sufficiently timely EITI disclosures to be relevant to inform public debate and policymaking had been fulfilled. The Secretariat agrees that the objective has been fulfilled.
Burkina Faso published its 2018, 2019 and 2020 EITI Reports in a timely manner (within two years of the end of the fiscal period covered) in the period under review, notwithstanding the global pandemic and an intensifying security crisis. More importantly, the publication of the Ministry of Energy and Mines’ “statistical bulletin” in December 2022 for Jan-June 2022 sector data includes un-reconciled revenue figures, disaggregated by month and type of tax. It also includes the amount that was paid into the FMDL. The bulletin contains a narrative on the figures. To strengthen analysis and data use, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Quarrying may wish to publish the tables and figures in excel format.97 It could also more prominently advertise the bulletin on the Ministry website.
4.3 Infrastructure provisions and barter arrangements
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.3 is mostly met. The previous Validation found this requirement not to be applicable. Stakeholders consulted did not express particular views on progress towards the objective of transparency in non-monetary exchanges of goods and services. The Secretariat’s view is that, while EITI Burkina Faso has considered the existence of barter-type agreements, it has not comprehensively disclosed information on the pre-financing of artisanal gold exports, which can be considered a form of resource-backed loan, that is sufficient to estimate the benefits of such an agreement relative to conventional agreements.
The 2020 EITI Report describes a mining contract, signed in 2012, that foresaw a public infrastructure component to the project, concluded between the Burkinabe government and the company Pan African Burkina. The contract was cancelled, and the court confirmed this in March 2019. Thus, the EITI Report concludes that there were no active barter agreements or infrastructure provisions in 2020.
Nonetheless, the 2020 EITI Report describes a pre-financing contract between the state-owned ANEEMAS and the Belgian gold refiner AFFINOR, whereby the Belgian buyer provides a revolving credit facility to ANEEMAS in exchange for physical deliveries of artisanal-mined gold purchased by ANEEMAS. The agreement consists of a revolving credit facility of XOF 1bn from AFFINOR to ANEEMAS, with regular disbursements of XOF 500m at a time when the funds have been used by ANEEMAS. ANEEMAS is required to deliver 25kg of gold to AFFINOR on a monthly basis in repayment of the credit facility. While the agreement could be considered not to represent a form of resource-backed loan given that the revolving credit facility has a less than one-year maturity, the Secretariat’s view is that it does meet the definition of barter-type arrangement in accordance with the objective of Requirement 4.3, given that it involves the provision of a financial service (a revolving credit facility) in exchange for the physical delivery of gold. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report argue that the MSG considered the ANEEMAS/AFFINOR agreement in the context of barter-type arrangements but concluded that it did not meet the definition of barter-type agreements in Requirement 4.3. The MSG argues that the arrangement consists of a simple gold sales agreement with advances on payments by the buyer to fund ANEEMAS’ working capital for its purchases of gold from artisanal miners, which it then sells on to AFFINOR at a set pricing formula, with the advances through the credit facility deducted from the payments due for these purchases. Moreover, the MSG argues that ANEEMAS is not a gold producer but rather a buyer and seller of gold. While the Secretariat recognises the technical aspects of the agreement, it maintains that the agreement should be considered a barter-type arrangement given that pre-financing agreements are considered resource-backed loans that meet the definition of barter-type arrangements. Notwithstanding the short-term nature of the revolving credit facility, the broader objective remains relevant to understanding this pre-financing agreement, namely to improve the transparency of types of arrangements that provide a significant share of government benefits from the extractive sector, that is commensurate with other cash-based company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining, as a basis for comparability to conventional agreements.
The terms of the agreement are comprehensively described in the 2020 EITI Report, including the absence of interest rates and the repayment modalities in physical gold deliveries from ANNEMAS to AFFINOR, with data on actual repayments in 2020 disaggregated by transaction. However, given that the MSG has not explicitly considered this arrangement a form of resource-backed loan, it has not developed estimates of the profits made from the sale by ANEEMAS, with a view to publishing an assessment of the value and benefits of this arrangement relative to conventional agreements. Thus, while most technical aspects of Requirement 4.3 have been addressed, the Secretariat’s view is that the objective of comparability of barter-type agreements to conventional agreements is only mostly fulfilled.
4.7 Level of disaggregation
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.7 is fully met. While there are some revenues levied on project level that are not disclosed as such, these are less than 2% of total revenues and thus negligible. The Secretariat’s view is that these small revenue streams have only been included in the scope of disaggregated disclosures due to the de facto zero materiality threshold for selecting revenue streams for reconciliation (see Requirement 4.1). The underlying objective is considered fulfilled by stakeholders, but there is potential to make greater use of the project-level data for analysis and communications.
Burkina Faso has been disclosing project level payments since its 2019 EITI Report. EITI-BF has undertaken a comprehensive review of project-level payments, documented clearly in the EITI Report what revenue flows are levied on project level95, and disclosed revenues per project and company for almost all revenue flows. The data gives an excellent starting point for reviewing project level payments over time, and how they relate to the contractual terms accessible for most mining projects. There are some revenue streams from companies that were not disaggregated by project, those are indicated in the EITI Report96 and summary data for the report. They are deemed not material enough to impact the achievement of the underlying objective.
EITI-BF may wish to consider tailoring its community outreach efforts with information on mining activities in their region, drawing on project level production and export figures available through EITI reporting. The Ministry of Energy and Mines may wish to disaggregate the revenue data in its statistical mining bulletin on project level in addition to the current aggregate figures.
4.9 Data quality and assurance
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.9 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. The Supreme Audit Institution has certified the government entities reporting templates and has included in its public report recommendations on how to improve revenue collection. Stakeholder views from all constituencies expressed confidence in the quality and assurances provided for the disclosed data. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective of the EITI contributing to strengthening routine government and company audit and assurance systems and practices has been fulfilled.
Burkina Faso has used its EITI reporting to review audit and assurance procedures for the government and extractive companies. The 2020 EITI Report details the audit practices in place and the approach for assurances taken, and assesses the overall level of assurances and reliability as agreed by the MSG.98 There is no evidence of deviations from the standard terms of reference. The Report includes a clear and well-developed statement on comprehensiveness and reliability.
In terms of assurances, the transparency template names the one (out of 17) company that did not comply with the agreed assurance procedure. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report explain that the non-complying company, Norgold, had provided the required quality assurances late, after the publication of the 2020 EITI Report, although the certification was subsequently published as an annex to the 2020 report. Despite numerous years of reporting, none of the reporting companies publicly publish their annual financial statements and audit reports.
To note that the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI – Cour des Comptes du Burkina Faso) both certifies the reporting templates and issues its opinion on the government’s EITI reporting. The SAI has included detailed recommendations on how to strengthen internal systems. Among others, the SAI noted that government entities lack the financial administration software, or the software is only partially implemented, which leads to many tasks being done manually, which is more prone to errors. Members of an oversight institution consulted for this Validation did not agree with the AI’s characterisation that there were no regular effective audits carried out for government entities.100 They confirmed that each Ministry has its financial monitoring and that those were largely working well.
Given the solid work the SAI has undertaken over the past years, and given the rich project level data available as well as a range of published contracts, Burkina Faso may consider a performance audit of the revenue collection using project-level production and export data and the publicly available terms in concluded contracts. It could further investigate the discrepancies between invoiced amounts and paid amount, in view of further strengthening the reliability of information on the sector and to strengthen domestic resource mobilisation. The IA has already done this for the past two years in the context of the FMDL traceability assignment, which showed that about 12% of total invoiced amount from companies is not paid (only royalties and surface fees).
5.1 Distribution of revenues
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 5.1 is mostly met, which represents backsliding since the previous Validation. The underlying objective is considered mostly met by the Secretariat given that EITI-BF’s continued disclosures on the management of government extractive revenues have not yet covered the more recent government reforms to allocate a share of mining revenues earmarked for subnational transfers in order to fund national security expenditures nor the requisitions of gold purchased from mining companies in early 2023. Although most of the stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of tracking extractive revenues not included in the national budget had been achieved, some CSOs expressed concern about the traceability of unrecorded extractive revenues in the state budget and the lack of reliable systematic disclosures for monitoring the management of some of these off-budget revenues. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report strongly rejected the ‘anachronism’ of assessing EITI-BF disclosures on reforms in 2023 when assessing disclosures related to the 2020 EITI Report. The MSG also highlighted the publication of the 2020 financial statements of ANEEMAS, in July 2023 during the period for MSG comments on the draft Validation report. Nonetheless, the Secretariat’s assessment notes views from the IMF (reported in a July 2023 article in L’Economiste du Faso) that recent reforms related to the funding of national security expenditures should be recorded in the national budget. The Secretariat considers that there has been backsliding since the previous Validation in ensuring the same level of transparency and accountability in the management of extractive revenues not recorded in the national budget as for conventional budgetary revenues.
Burkina Faso operates a centralised public finance management system, with statutory government revenues levied on the mining sector transferred to accounts that are recorded in the national budget, including earmarked revenues. Burkina Faso’s EITI Reports describe the Treasury account system and provides an overview of the national budget classification system. Some of the old (2015-2017) government financial statements (TOFE) are available on the open data platform of EITI national website102, and data up to 2022 is published via the Burkina Faso open data portal supported by the AFDB. The data is sourced from the Ministry of the Economy and Finance.103
Of the five revenue flows listed in the 2020 EITI Report as not allocated to the state budget, only the payments collected by the SOEs (ANEEMAS, ONASSIM, ENEVE, BUMIGEB) are not recorded by the Treasury. The local mining development fund FMDL, the rehabilitation mining fund FRFM, and the geological research fund receive transfers from government collecting agencies. The second potential off-budget revenues are destined to the artisanal mining rehabilitation fund, which was not yet active in 2020 according to the 2020 EITI Report. The amount of each category of extractive revenues that is not recorded in the national budget is included in the 2020 EITI Report. While an explanation of the off-budget and transferred revenues is provided in the EITI Report, the description of ANEEMAS’ financial management is not particularly detailed. However, in July 2023 (during the period for MSG comments on the draft Validation report), the EITI-BF website published ANEEMAS’ 2020 audited financial statements for the first time. While financial reports detailing the management of revenues are only publicly available for the local mining development fund FMDL, there is little publicly available information on the government’s decision to seize a share of these revenues for national security purposes in 2023. Likewise, it remains unclear whether the requisitions of gold purchased from mining companies in early 2023 was recorded in the national budget.
5.3 Revenue management and expenditures
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 5.3 remains not assessed, given that several encouraged aspects of this requirement remain to be addressed by Burkina Faso EITI. The 2020 EITI Report provides information on earmarked extractive revenues, like those dedicated to the FMDL, and the budget and audit procedures but does not provide additional information on production and commodity price assumptions and revenue sustainability, resource dependence, and revenue forecasting, which would be required for an assessment of exceeded.
5.2 Subnational transfers
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 5.2 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Consultations with stakeholders confirmed that they consider that the EITI’s role in monitoring the transfer and management of subnational transfers has been instrumental to accompany the implementation of the fairly recent local development fund FMDL. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective of enabling stakeholders at the local level to assess whether the transfer and management of subnational transfers of extractive revenues are in line with statutory entitlements has been fulfilled for the period under review. However, the Secretariat expresses significant concern at the government’s unilateral decision in 2023 to seize a share of mining revenues earmarked for subnational transfers to fund national security expenditures. The practice of subnational transfers from 2023 will require vigilant oversight to maintain the level of transparency that EITI-BF has achieved on subnational transfers for 2019 and 2020.
The two subnational transfer mechanisms are identified in the 2020 EITI Report. A total of 20% of surface taxes (“taxe superficiaire”) paid by mining companies are transferred to the municipalities affected by the extractive activities. The 2020 EITI Report provides the revenue sharing formula, the theoretical amounts and compares them with the actual disbursements acted by Decree for 2020, disaggregated by beneficiary municipality and region in Annex 21. The Secretariat’s understanding is that all beneficiary municipalities and regions were covered in these disclosures, as confirmed in stakeholder consultations. According to the 2020 EITI Report, it was not possible to reconcile the disbursements with the amounts received by the local municipalities, due to the lack of disaggregated data in the accounts of the municipalities. Such reconciliation of transfers with recipients’ receipts are only encouraged, not strictly required by the EITI Standard.
The second subnational transfer identified is the Local Mining Development Fund, FMDL, created with the new 2015 Mining Code and operationalised by Decree in 2017. It is funded by two government mining revenue flows, namely 1% of the annual turnover of mining companies, and 20% of mining royalties. The revenues transferred are monitored by a national committee called CNS and local committees105 called CCS, and finance social programmes within the regions and local municipalities. The 2020 EITI Report provides the revenue sharing formula, the theoretical transfers and the actual disbursements made by the FMDL, disaggregated by beneficiary local government. Spot-checks of three of the main mining companies were performed to evaluate whether their payments to the national government were transferred to the subnational governments where their activities took place.
In addition of the description of the actual transfers, a performance Audit Report106 from the SAI, published in June 2020 and covering 2016-2019, and the 2020 EITI Report both note discrepancies between the theoretical amount that should have been paid by the mining companies and the actual subnational transfers executed in practice. In 2020, less than half of the surface tax due has been collected by the DGTCP, and less than 80% of the royalties (see Requirement 4.1). The SAI report concludes that the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Ministry of Finance and the National Committee (CNS), as well as the local and regional authorities failed to correctly manage the resources of the FMDL and the surface taxes in accordance to their roles and responsibilities. The current work plan does not include activities that would ensure recommendations in the SAI report are monitored and followed-up on. In April 2023, the government unilaterally decided to redirect 50% of the funds in the FMDL to cover military expenses, de facto appropriating funds destined for community development. The MSG’s comments on the draft Validation report vehemently criticise the Validation report’s interpretation of this legal reform, enacted in July 2023, and highlighted the multi-stakeholder consultative nature of the consultations (see Requirement 1.1).
4.6 Subnational payments
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.6 remains not applicable, as in the previous Validation. While the 2020 EITI Report states that municipal taxes are not specific to mining companies and thus not considered extractives-related direct subnational payments, stakeholders from all constituencies confirmed that these direct subnational payments to municipalities were of marginal value and thus not considered material, as in previous Validations. The 2020 EITI Report describes company payments of a business tax called “la patente”, common to companies in all economic sectors. However, the report confirms that this revenue is collected at the national level by the General Tax Directorate (DGI) and subsequently transferred to subnational governments.
6.1 Social and environmental expenditures
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 6.1 is mostly met. Some social expenditures are mandated from mining companies by decree, and the 2020 EITI Report discloses mandatory and voluntary social expenditures, unilaterally disclosed by companies. The underlying objective to enable public understanding of social and environmental contributions and companies’ compliance with their obligations was considered met by most stakeholders consulted. However, the limited number of companies that reported mandatory social expenditures raises questions about the comprehensiveness of EITI disclosures of mandatory expenditures, and thus the Secretariat considers the objective mostly fulfilled.
Social and environmental expenditures are disclosed through the EITI Report. Unilaterally disclosed by the mining companies, social expenditures are disaggregated between voluntary and mandatory expenditures. All social expenditures are disaggregated by payment and company in the Annex 6 of the 2020 EITI Report. The annex also includes the region and the name of the beneficiary, whether the payment was made in-kind or in cash, as well as a brief description of the nature of the payment. However, only five of the 17 material companies (representing 56% of the total revenues) reported having paid mandatory social expenditures, totalling XOF 2.720bn in mandatory social expenditures. Apart from one expenditure made by the company HOUNDE GOLD, the legal basis for reported mandatory social expenditures is not indicated.
On environmental expenditures, the sole mandatory environmental expenditure identified by the 2020 EITI Report is the contribution made to the mining rehabilitation fund for a total of XOF 19.234bn, disaggregated by company. It is unclear from the EITI Report, other public documents, or stakeholder consultations whether there exist any payments to government required of mining companies that are related to the environment, such as forms of pollution or resource use taxes or fees.
The 2020 EITI Report also discloses some voluntary expenditures by mining companies. In 2020, voluntary social expenditures amounted to XOF 2.149bn from 13 material companies. Voluntary environmental expenditures are not disaggregated from voluntary social expenditures.