Mr James Avedzi, Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance, has called on mineral-rich African countries to create conducive environment for the engagement of Civil Society Organisations to ensure a judicious resource management.
“For the extractive resources to truly benefit the people of Africa, countries should seek to better manage the revenue in a transparent and inclusive manner,” he said.
Mr Avedzi said this on Monday during the opening of a 14-day summer school, organised by the Natural Resources Governance Institute for stakeholders in the oil, gas and mining sector, from 40 countries across Africa.
He said the sector provided huge opportunities for sustainable development and poverty reduction in the sub region.
Mr Avedzi said the sector, if properly managed, would trigger growth in other economic sectors, industries, as well as investments in jobs, infrastructure and basic social services.
He said 19 out of 46 countries in sub Saharan Africa had important reserves of hydrocarbons oils, gas and coal; whiles 13 countries were also in the process of exploring additional reserves.
“Experts predict that the region has the lowest discovery rate, which is an indication that, more natural resources are yet to be discovered”, he said.
He called on African countries with natural resources, especially those in the extractive sector to reverse the notion that Africa’s natural resources had become a curse by ensuring that the ordinary person benefited immensely from the proceeds of their resources.
He wondered why natural resource management in Africa was often shrouded in secrecy, subjected to corruption, nepotism, and cronyism.
Mr Avedzi said in Africa, about 23 countries, which had signed up to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) had made a significant progress in the disclosure of extractive revenues received by their governments.
“However it is unclear whether the civil society, the media, and parliaments in these countries are sufficiently well informed to take full advantage of transparency for more effective oversight,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Kuyole, Deputy Director, Africa, Natural Resource Governance Institute, the organisers of the programme, said the 14 day course was to help improve the capacities of civil society groups, the media, parliament and government agencies to ensure strong fiscal responsibility and macro-economic planning.
He said it was also to help maximize people’s participation, reduce inequalities and ensure that natural resources were used in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Nana Kobina Nketsia, Omanhene of Esikado, called on Africa leaders to make effective use of the natural resources by ensuring that the ordinary people benefited; and that, they should not focus too much on exporting it for financial gains.
He called on the participants to come out with practical solutions, which could be used to solve African challenges, instead of relying on solutions developed by western countries, which does not often function well in the African system.
The programme drew participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique amongst others.
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