Delivering the keynote address Monday at the start of a week long media training to empower Liberian journalists with knowleged in the oil, gas and mining industry, Ambassador Deborah Malac reflected on the US’ intention announced in 2012 to follow Liberia’s example and implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
“We recognize that our credibility depends on practicing what we preach; so we are trying to up our own game,” she said.
The seven-day workshop, gathering several Liberian journalists at the iLab on 20th Street Sinkor, Monrovia, is facilitated by the Penplus Bytes, with Ghanaian experts in the course presentation.
Ambassador Malac said the effort requires disclosure of payments made by companies to the Government of Liberia, as well as payments received by the government from companies.
Already, she said, Section 1504 of the US Dodd-Frank Act set a new, higher standard for transparency in the extractive industries, and has been a valuable tool in promoting increased transparency around the world.
The US Envoy argued that corruption and the lack of transparency eats away like a cancer, noting that Corruption stifles entrepreneurship and siphons funding away from critical services. She said poor fiscal transparency makes it impossible to hold governments accountable.
Quoting the Africa Progress Panel’s estimate, Ambassador Malac said Africa loses more every year in ilicit outflows ($63.4 billion) than it receives in aid and foreign direct investment combined ($62.2 billion).
Further quoting Global Witness’ estimates, the US Envoy said in 2010, the value of oil, gas and minerals exported from Africa was nearly seven times the value of international aid received.
However, among Africa’s traditional oil and gas procedures, she said, large percentages of the population were still living on under $2 per day including Angola, (66%), Cameroon (32.1%), Chad (81.7%), and Nigeria (45.35%).
Source: New Dawn
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