Ethiopia’s first EITI Report makes data on the country’s extractive sector available for the first time.
Although Ethiopia has a history of mining, the sector is still small. The country’s first EITI Report shows the mining sector contributed USD 131 million to government revenue in the Ethiopian fiscal year 8 July 2013 - 7 July 2014. This was 2.1% of total government revenue in 2014.
According to the report, there are no figures available on how many people are employed by the mining sector, though figures collected by the companies suggest that at least 10,550 (or 2% of the total employed population) formally work in the sector.
Spotlight on artisanal and small-scale mining
The scope of people dependent on the mining sector is however much larger if one also considers artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), for which it is more challenging to collect data due to the informal nature of the sector. Between 300,000 and 350,000 people are engaged in artisanal and small-scale gold mining, while five to seven million people are believed to depend on mining for their livelihood. The Ethiopian government has made efforts to formalise the sector by enabling the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) to act as a buying agent for gold produced by small-scale miners. The Bank offers a rate of 5% above the official gold price to try to prevent illicit sale of gold to non-licensed buyers. The report provides an overview of the ASM sector including the types of licenses and estimated production figures.
Keeping records of license holders
Information on licenses held by companies operating in a country’s extractive sector enables citizens to see which companies have been awarded rights to exploit their natural resources. Until the publication of the first Ethiopia EITI Report, license information was not publically available. Details on licenses held by oil, gas and mining companies, the names of the holders, date of award and duration of the license are now disclosed. Keeping a public record of active licenses encourages investment, optimises the sector’s contribution to the country, clarifiesy property rights, and helps avoid conflicts over the ownership and location of tenements. Some of the companies have also provided details on their legal and beneficial owners.