Your trusted place for Sierra Leone and global news
HomeFeaturedRegional Summer School on Resource Governance Opens in Ghana

Regional Summer School on Resource Governance Opens in Ghana

Regional Summer School on Resource Governance Opens in Ghana

The second Regional Extractive Industries Knowledge Hub (REIK Hub) Summer School on governance of oil, gas and mining revenues, started on Monday 12th July 2010 at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in Achimota, Accra, Ghana. (Group photo of participants)

Jointly organized by the Revenue Watch Institute (RWI), GIMPA and Good Financial Governance (GTZ), the two-week long summer school which attracted participants including policy makers, civil society activists, lawyers and journalists from host country Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Tanzania and Uganda, aims at developing regional capacity to provide effective training and mentoring to grow a critical mass of knowledge, skilled human resources who are duly equipped to affect strong oversight and governance of extractive industries and resources.

Another aim of the training is to provide consultancy and technical assistance to all target groups (in their oversight functions) that help reform systems and procedures of local and national governments; facilitate the management of change and application of learning; and harness oversight bodies’ pivotal role in creating a good environment for adequate extractive industries governance in target countries.

Additionally, the training aims at transferring or sharing global and regional knowledge or best practices to meet specific local needs, thereby encouraging south-south and cross regional information exchanges.

Delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony, Kwame Jantuah of AGROWORLD UK, noted that the discovery of oil and gas and other mineral resources anywhere is a great blessing, judging by the level of development that has taken place in countries endowed with such resources, particular in the West, the Arab world, the Middle East and Asia, not excluding South Africa and Botswana.

He however referred to the greater Africa as a worse case scenario, pointing out that poverty is visible in places where such minerals are found. He cited among others the lack of political will on the part of African governments, lack of human resources, misuse of mining revenues and the deliberate denial of public participation due to perceived prejudices and sometimes official corruption of the political leadership and bureaucrats, as key factors responsible for the continued backwardness and underdevelopment in resource-rich countries in the continent.

Mr. Jantuah further stated that the mining sector is beset with a couple of problems ranging from the absence of comprehensive and workable national policies regulating mining operations and the lack of capacity and effective structures.

With the unimpressive experiences in oil producing countries like Nigeria, Congo, Angola and Sudan to name a few, and giving that other countries like Ghana and Uganda where such a valuable resource has been discovered and despite several bottlenecks are about the commence extraction, Mr. Jantuah posed the question as to whether Africans are really ready to make the most of their God-given natural resources.

“It is not an easy matter”, he said, noting however that state control will go a long way to start addressing the mountain of problems that have characterized the sector for so long, and which in turn have severely undermined Africans’ enjoyment of their huge mineral wealth. He emphasized local ownership and the need for local value adding, stressing that local capacities should be strengthened in order to properly regulate the sector.

“Nothing is impossible as long as we are able to take ideas forward”, he went on, adding that national development plans must be devoid of politics and should have the participation of all stakeholders including the civil society.

Chairing the ceremony, Paramount Chief Naa Professor J. S. Nabila, who happens to be the President of the National House of Chiefs in Ghana, referred to extractive resources as non renewable, and therefore called for the judicious utilization of mining revenues, saying, “We need to effectively monitor and evaluate what is happening in the sector in order to ensure local beneficiation”.

He said environmental impact assessments must be treated seriously, warning that governments/policy makers and implementers in resource-rich countries in Africa must ensure that mining activities are not conducted in a manner that will cause the people who are the hardest hit to rise up. According to him, “Minerals can be a blessing, but can also be a curse in disguise”.

Dr. David Nguyen-Thanh of GTZ Ghana, echoed the fact that there is a natural imbalance between government and civil society in terms of oversight, adding that scrutinizing government policies is a positive way forward.

He said GTZ believes that learning and innovation are critical to development, and therefore expressed happiness that his organization is partnering with RWI and GIMPA to organize the yearly summer school sessions which he noted are aimed among other things to broaden the scope of understanding of participants on mining and extractive issues so as to be able to make informed decisions.

“The measure of success does not depend on the number of conferences and trainings held, but going beyond by making use of the knowledge gained to ensure that the people benefit from their natural resources”, Dr. David Nguyen-Thanh stressed, maintaining that, “If government’s overall in-take from mining is low, then it shows that there is a problem”.

Other speakers included the Dean of the Graduate School of Governance, Leadership and Public Management at GIMPA, Professor Kwame Frimpong, Madam Angela Mugore of RWI and Dr. Augustine Tawaih, the summer school co-coordinator, who in his welcome address noted that, “It is but fitting that Africans from various backgrounds are coming together to learn, share experiences and find common solutions to cross cutting problems afflicting the mining and extractive industries.

Introduction to value change, mineral, oil and gas development process and basic geological and exploitation processing, global structure and trends in the mining, oil and gas sector, transparency and good governance, political economy of the extractive sector, introduction to basic concepts of tax policy and fiscal tools for extractives, resource revenue management/governance, economic and legal framework, contract negotiation, mechanism for social and environmental protection, revenue sharing schemes and revenue distribution, are among the carefully selected modules participants at the summer school are being trained on. A field trip to a mine site and peer mentoring also form part of the training package.

Representing Sierra Leone at the summer school are Aminata Kelly-Lamin of the Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD), Leslie M’boka of the Campaign for Just Mining (CJM), Abdul Rashid of Search for Common Ground, Zainab Joque of the Independent Radio Network and yours truly, Theophilus S. Gbenda of the Association of Journalists on Mining and Extractives (AJME).

By Theophilus S. Gbenda in Ghana

Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!

© 2010, https:. All rights reserved.

Share With:
Rate This Article
No Comments

Leave A Comment