Regional Resource Governance in West Africa
Title: Regional Resource Governance in West Africa
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); combined financing with the European Union (EU)
Country: Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Industry and Mines (Côte d’Ivoire); Ministry of Mines and Geology (Guinea); Ministry of Mines and Energy (Liberia); Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources (Sierra Leone)
Overall term: 2019 to 2022
The abundance of raw materials in the four countries that make up the Mano River Union (MRU) – Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – offers major potential for increasing government revenues and boosting the region’s economy in the long term. However, the extraction of these resources also has significant social and environmental impacts and poses enormous challenges to the administrative authorities.
Although the countries have already implemented reforms in line with the African Union’s Africa Mining Vision, there continues to be a lack of sustainability in the mining sector in the MRU states – with far-reaching social and environmental impacts in the mining communities.
Against this backdrop, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the goal of improving raw material extraction in the MRU states in the long term and further reforming the mining sector in accordance with the principles of social, environmental and economic sustainability (as set out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals).
The mining sector in the MRU countries is more closely aligned with the principles of social, environmental and economic sustainability.
GIZ is supporting the project’s partner countries in changing their political, institutional and legal frameworks to enable them to manage their natural resources in a sustainable way. The partner organisations range from government institutions at regional, national and local level to civil society organisations and the private sector.
The project’s work can be split into four categories:
- Increasing tax revenues and preventing tax evasion and avoidance by mining companies.
- Improving state supervisory bodies that monitor compliance with social and environmental standards. Exports are also to be monitored more closely to combat smuggling (focusing on gold and diamonds mined by hand).
- Supporting civil society organisations that represent the interests of mining communities in securing greater transparency and responsibility from the government and the private sector.
- Providing the MRU states with strategic advice in order to increase the contributions of the mining sector to national and local economic development.
- Companies and traders with mining licences have been subject to tax inspections in all four countries. This has led to the back-payment of substantial taxes and fees that can benefit the national budget.
- Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have developed an electronic system to manage mining licences, which is linked to the tax authorities and discloses revenues from the sector. It covers the majority of industrial and artisanal mining licences and increases transparency in licence management.
- To enhance the visibility of the outcomes of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the mining regions, a roadshow running over several weeks presented a film and interactive theatre. Discussion events were held for the first time and were attended by 951 people in Guinea and 1,852 people in Côte d’Ivoire.
- Training sessions in all four countries are helping journalists report on mining independently.
- In Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Guinea, 25 civil society organisations have been given further training in strategy development, representation of interests, mining legislation, environmental risks and state revenue, which has improved their lobbying and campaign work.
- In Sierra Leone, the national mining authority has succeeded in introducing a standardised process for local development planning that takes account of the role of gender in mining in particular. So far, five active mining companies have signed up to the process.
- The project has supported the regional action plan of the four MRU member states to implement the Kimberley Process for diamond certification. One of the aims is improving levels of cooperation in customs and border control to combat smuggling. Sixty-two law enforcement officials in major cities and at borders have been trained in anti-smuggling measures.
- A mining community in Guinea has tested a system for producing gold without using mercury, thereby increasing miners’ incomes and improving the livelihoods and health of the mining communities.