West African EITI Implementing countries met together for the first EITI West Africa Conference 10-12 September in Abudja.
At the opening of the conference, Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua gave this message: "The Nigerian experience shows that there is a sense in which we can talk of blood oil. (...) It is my hope that this conference will seriously interrogate this issue." Further he said that "EITI is propelled by the faith that extractive resources can indeed promote growth, enhance poverty reduction and drive sustainable development. Hence twenty-three resource rich countries across the globe have heeded the call, that transparent and accountable management of extractive resources can make the difference."
Speakers included Nigerian Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, as well as the Head of the EITI Secretariat Jonas Moberg.
At the Conference entitled "EITI in West Africa: Challenges & Strategies", more than 200 representatives of governments, companies, civil society groups, donors and development agencies gathered together in Abuja between 11 and 12 September 2008 to examine the status of EITI implementation in West Africa, share lessons and discuss how to achieve greater impact at national and regional levels. This event was hosted by the NEITI with support from the World Bank.
This followed a two day regional meeting of Publish What You Pay that was attended by close to 200 transparency campaigners. During the meeting they met with European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.