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Bravo, Elison.

Now we are hearing from the Africans who've been "mising in action" when it comes to issues partaining to them and their continents and peoples. I am always yearning to hear from Africans on all the numerous initiatives coming from overseas on how Africa may utilize its natural resources to lift the continent out of its demise. Especially from the younger generation of thinking Africans who have the intellectual capacity to say to those foreign-generated initiatives, thanks, but...

Because most of the prescriptions I read about for African resource utilization for development are not only wrong but stupid considering the geopolitics of our continent.

I will recall many years back when I was a young engineer at Sierra Leone's Water Supply Unit working on the implementation of the then UNDP Water Decade program for Africa. I wrote a paper for my boss, the chief engineer, agonizing over the paternilistic policies of the funding agencies. The water decade program was a good intention but the implementation methods demanded by the donors was one size fits all. Unfortunately, the African technocrats where either incompetent or merely wanted to avail themselves with the financial gains that accompanied the project. Parallel institutions were created instead of incorporating the project into existing governance structures to enable national capacity building and eliminating the future problem of mainstreaming the project functions once the "experts" left for home.

Today, evidence of the million dollar water decade program cannot be seen anywhere in the country!

Just as Elison mentioned above, the utmost objective of all these initiatives on accountability, transparency and many others must be their impact on the ground with the improvement in quality of education so that our kids can measure up to any Japanese or Chinese kids, the improvement of healthcare delivery so that even Africans who can afford it would not be travelling overseas for simple medical procedures. Rather than merely holding the African politician's and the oil companies' feet to the fire in order for them to spill out what money is transferred from one to the other, the goal must be to see Legon or Makerere become centers of academic excellence in the world or hospitals in Nigeria and Sierra Leone and Niger offering cutting edge meidical services  centers.

So, African GOXIANS, put on your thinking hats and speak up and stop being concurers of everything any 25 year old kid from overseas suggests about how to solve Africa's (resource management) issues.

is not one of the weakness an emphasis on process rather than outcome? a focus on transparency does not necesarily create accountablity. and what type of accountability anyway? is it results based accountability? ie number of roads, bridges, schools etc or is it process based accountability (ie money not stolen?) i think it is a massive simplification to assume that leaders are of necessity corrupt and the solution is openess. Africa's real problem (in my opinion) is a poverty of policy. her policy makers sit in Washington, Paris and London. so her politcal classes do not contest over policy. they contest over power. democratic accountability is usually results based. how many people did you lift out of poverty? how many schools did you build? but when the policy comes from Bretton Woods institutions then the politics can never be accountable to the citizen. my two cents.  

 

Susan. you wrote:

"...it [EITI] only on works in nations where political and civil liberties are respected. "

Of course, Susan, could you have imagined EITI or any CSO thriving in Sadam Hussein's Iraq?

CSOs such as EITI need a fertile foundation of a more civil environment in order for them not only be acceptable but to impact the development process. CSOs are not unlike real estate, it is the location, location, location!

This why I emphasize on this forum to desire for the EITI to support an enabling political economy in those resource rich countries in order for the Initiative to be relevant in the societies it wants to assist utilize revenue from extractive resources for local economic development included.

Eng. Ahmed Finoh, MPA

Durham, NC/USA

In my own research on the EITI  published in Public Affairs and Development, I found a Catch 22 related to the EITI; it only works in nations where political and civil liberties are respected. Even in a country like Azerbaijan, it is not really effective in improving governance and empowering the public--represented by civil society-- in monitoring resource rents.  I think EITI has struggled to provide  incentives to governments to join and to hold these same governments accountable.

The questions were:

(1) Is the EITI working?

(2) Is the EITI relevant and effective?

 

These questions have been best answered by the EITI's own independent Evaluation Report. In the Executive Summary of the Report [block] :Achievements & Strategic Options, paragraph 2, line 3, states:

             "...while little impact at societal level can be descerned." and

             " This is ... largely due to the lack of links with the larger public sector reform

             processes and institutions." [ call it political economy of host countries]

 

In addition, the Report's ANNEX G.3.7 further underscores the point of the neccessity for an ennabling environment of good governance on the ground in order for EITI to be meaningful.

 

I believe the ultimate objective of the EITI to foster socio-economic development with the resonsible use of revenue from the extractive industries was a noble goal. What was ill-conceived was the assumption that transparency of the transactions between governments and the extractive industries per se will lead to reduction of corruption and subsequently to socio-economic development.

 

As it was heighlighted at the recent EITI Parish symposium, [revenue] transparecy by itself

     (1) does not build schools

     (2) does not construct rural roads

     (3) does not add value to agricultural produce, nor

     (4) does it eliminate infant mortality or improve overall community health

 

Information has to be actionable on the part of the receipients inorder for it to be beneficial. In order for the stakeholders to avail themselves of the revenue transparency of the extractive industries , mechanisms and opportunities have to be in place for recourse.

 

Without striving for good governance on the ground in host countries, EITI may go in the way of other initiatives that came before for socio-eceonomic improvings in developing countries. Such as the World Bank's Structural Adjustment Programs of the 80s, the UN Water Decade Project and a plethora of others that can now not be accounted for. The current IMF's Poverty Reduction Strategy Projects may well follow suit if a precondition of good governence is not ensured.

Eng. Ahmed Finoh,MPA

Durham, NC/USA