RELUFA and NRGI strengthen the capacities of CSOs and journalists on the RGI

RELUFA and NRGI strengthen the capacities of civil society organizations and journalists on the Natural Resource Governance Index

The Réseau de Lutte contre la Faim(RELUFA) and The Non-Governmental Organization Natural Resource Governance Institute NRGI organized on October 4 and 5, 2017 at the Ntoungou Hôtel in Yaoundé, a workshop on the 2017 Natural Resource Governance Index. The objective of   this workshop was to contribute to a better understanding, appropriation and use of the governance index for monitoring and advocacy actions by key players in the circumstance. These were mainly civil society organizations working on the extractive industries and journalists.

In his welcome address, RELUFA coordinator Jaff Napoleon BAMENJO reminded participants that the workshop was part of the capacity-building activities of the Réseau de Lutte contre la Faim’s stakeholders in relation to its program on equity in the extractive industries. Speaking about the Governance Index, which was at the heart of the meeting, NRGI’s Africa Director Evelyne TSAGUE told participants that this is the only international index exclusive to the extractive sector. Its aim is to describe the way in which countries manage their extractive resources. In this case, the period under consideration is between 2015 and 2016. The aspects assessed here relate to rules, practices and monitoring mechanisms. From the point of view of rules, this index verifies their existence and does not assess their qualities.

The index seen in terms of numbers

From a statistical point of view, the Natural Resources Governance Index assessed 81 countries that together produce, among other commodities, 82% of the world’s oil, 78% of its gas and 72% of its copper. It corresponds to a total of 89 country evaluations, carried out using 149 critical questions answered by 150 researchers, based on almost 10,000 reference documents. Assessments were made on the basis of 3 components (subdivided into 14 sub-components) namely value realization, revenue management and general governance conditions.

Mixed positions of African countries.

A panoramic look at the positions of African countries in the Governance Index rankings reveals that Ghana occupies the 13eme position, in the category of countries said to be Satisfactory.   According to the index, this category includes countries where some governance policies and practices are sound, but improvements are needed in certain areas. Citizens of these countries are likely to benefit from the wealth derived from extractive resources, although some costs to society are likely. While this position augurs well for Africa, and should be taken into account in cases of good practice, there are other less glowing cases to consider. These include Equatorial Guinea, ranked 85e by the Index, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, 84e.

Indicators that are detrimental to Cameroon

For the case of Cameroon, some strong points are to be noted at the level of the sub-components ” titling procedures, taxation, local impact ” through the following indicators : rules applicable to the pre-granting phase(75)  practice of the pre-granting cycle (100), export values (67)  company payment rules (100) ; EITI report affiliation (70), ESIA  rules (100 ); environmental mitigation plan rules (100)  environmental compliance rules (100).

From these same sub-components, we can also identify indicators which do not score well and which should be improved as part of the sector’s governance process. This is the case for the Cadastre, the Rules applicable to the post-granting phase, the Practices for disclosure of financial interests, the Rules concerning disclosure of contracts, the Practices of the tax authority, the Disclosure of ESIAs, Rules on compensation for land users and landowners.

The 48 hours spent learning about the Extractive Industries Governance Index have enabled journalists and civil society organizations involved in monitoring the governance of the extractive industries to be better equipped for initiatives to improve governance in this sector. A deeper analysis of Cameroon’s performance will thus provide them with avenues to advocate for better governance of the sector.

By Prosper KOUAYEP

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