Peter Eigen visits West Africa to assess progress on transparency in the extractives sector

Dr Peter Eigen, Chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), will visit Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria this week to recognise and encourage the progress being made towards the EITI standard.  Like so many in the region, these countries are characterised by violence, corruption and poverty, as well as an abundance of natural resources.  This paradox is often called the resource curse.  To help address this paradox, each of the countries has committed itself to implement the EITI, which provides a framework and a standard for improving the governance of the resources. 

Dr Eigen will meet with the Presidents  Johson-Sirleaf, Koroma, and Yar'Adua , with whom he will discuss their progress against the standard.  He will also meet with communities affected by mining and forestry, and extractive companies operating in the region.

Dr Eigen said "Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone have so far suffered rather than benefitted from their natural resources, but each has committed to improve the governance of their resources and we collectively have a responsibility to help.  Some impressive strides have been achieved, and I look forward to all three countries becoming compliant with the EITI standard’. 

Notes for editors 

Nigeria has produced two comprehensive reports covering all major payments from companies to government between 1999-2005.  Liberia is in the process of producing its second report and has engaged the whole country in a wider debate on resource transparency covering minerals, oil, forestry and rubber.  Sierra Leone will publish their first EITI report by the end of the year which, it is hoped, will go a long way to address many of the suspicions and mistrust that exists in the minerals sector.