News / Africa

New Standards Approved for Extractive Industries

Pipelines criss-cross at the Paloch oil field in South Sudan on Sunday, May 5, 2013.
Pipelines criss-cross at the Paloch oil field in South Sudan on Sunday, May 5, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

New performance standards have been announced (5/23) for oil, gas and mining companies, requiring them to be much more transparent in their business dealings.


The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative approved the new performance standards at a meeting in Sydney, Australia. Created in 2003, the initiative includes government, business and civil society representatives.

Among those supporting the tougher standards is Alexandra Gilles, head of governance at the Revenue Watch Institute, which monitors extraction industries.

She said, “Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, or EITI, is a voluntary standard of disclosure in the oil, mining and gas sectors. The countries sign-up to the EITI and in doing so agree to release certain kinds of information about their extractive sectors.”

Up until now, the initiative simply required the release of revenue data.

“So the governments had to disclose how much money they received from oil, gas and mining companies and the companies had to disclose how much they paid to the governments. And then those two sets of figures were reconciled by an independent auditor. So, it was a really important step forward in terms of advancing transparency and knowing how much money enters into these governments, she said.

But Gilles said that wasn’t enough to ensure complete transparency.

“As we know, the oil, gas and mining industries are very complicated and involve a whole series of decisions that have to be made in order for countries to really benefit from these resources.”

Under the new standards companies will release information on production volumes, corporate social responsibility payments and money transfers from national to local governments. They also call for countries to disclose all the licenses they’ve awarded.

“This sounds really basic,” she said, “but in a number of countries, such as Kazakhstan and Mozambique, we don’t even know which companies hold licenses.” 

She said that in the past, the EITI did a poor job of monitoring national oil companies. She describes them as the dominant players in such countries as Iraq and Nigeria.

“In resource rich countries, there are over one billion people living on less than five dollars a day. So, there’s this huge development challenge to turn oil, gas and mine resources into development outcomes in order to reduce poverty and increase economic growth. Now that only happens if these resources are managed properly,”

Nearly 40 countries, including the United States, are part of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. For some, there’ll be about a year-long transition period to meet all the new requirements.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid