EITI Chair Clare Short visited Mauritania from 1-3 October at the invitation of the Mauritanian government. During her visit, she met with His Excellency President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and the Oil and Energy Minister Taleb Ould Abdivall. She also held discussions with other high level government officials and members of the national EITI multi-stakeholder group, including representatives from civil society, companies and parliamentarians.
In her address to the national EITI conference on 2 October, EITI Chair commended Mauritania for its efforts in advancing transparency in the extractives sector, including regular publication of payments and revenues from oil and mining. She explained that the EITI is a global standard implemented by 35 countries around the world, with the United States recently committing to implementation. She noted that in many resource rich countries around the world, oil, gas and minerals are fueling corruption and instability and that transparency is an important step to mitigate these problems and create accountability.
While in Mauritania, the EITI Chair also travelled to the town of Akjoujt to visit a copper and gold mine operated by First Quantum Minerals, and discussed how mining activities are helping community development. Speaking to local authorities and community representatives, she noted that the EITI provides a platform for dialogue between governments, companies and citizens, and that natural resources should be managed for the benefit of the people.
On her return to Nouakchott, Clare Short attended a joint press conference with Sidi Ould Zeine, Chair of the National EITI Committee. Responding to questions on whether Mauritania should include fisheries in its EITI process, she stated that the EITI is a robust but flexible standard that countries could extend to other significant national resources.
“I am impressed with the level of transparency in Mauritania. With sustained efforts, Mauritania’s experience could become an example for other countries in the region”, she said.
Mauritania possesses vast mineral resources including iron ore, copper and gold. In September 2007, the country was admitted as an EITI Candidate country and committed to improving transparency of oil, gas, and mining revenues. Mauritania has published four EITI Reports covering extractive revenues from 2005 to 2009.
For more information on EITI in Mauritania, please visit: http://eiti.org/Mauritania.