Good news for the transparency movement started in the world of raw material extraction. Niger, a major uranium producer, returned to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (Itie) on February 11, from which it had withdrawn in November 2017 after being suspended by this organization. Today, more than 50 states, including 26 African countries, have undertaken to implement the Itie standard.
Reasons for withdrawal
“After the withdrawal of this country from the Itie process in October 2017, its government resumed the commitment to [la] enforce. His candidacy was approved by the Itie Board of Directors, ”said the latter on its website. “We welcome him [le Niger] warmly as a country implementing Itie, and we look forward to the contribution that Itie will make to public debate in Niger, ”said Helen Clark, President of Itie. You should know that the board of directors had suspended Niger “for insufficient progress”, in particular as regards “disclosure of contracts” and non-compliance with “publication of data” on the payment of dividends for the benefit of mining areas. Niger was also accused of “restricting space” for civil society, in connection with the arrests of actors interested in the mining sector in the context of the Uraniumgate affair. Niamey had judged this decision “unfair” and had “disaffiliated” from the authorities of Itie.
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Reintegration that is timely
According to the Initiative, “readmission” from Niger “comes at an opportune time. Extractive activities play a major role in the Niger economy, with uranium, oil and gold accounting for 8% of GDP and around 50% of the country’s export earnings. ” Launched in 2002, Itie has become an international standard aimed at ensuring greater transparency in the governance of the extractive industries.
For its part, Niger joined in 2007 after reforms to the legal framework, including the adoption of the 2006 Mining Code, and the incorporation into its Constitution of “principles of transparency” and “good governance” for the sector mining. A major producer of uranium for almost 50 years, Niger became a small producer of gold in 2004 and of oil in 2011. Civil society is a stakeholder in the movement, after the country has set up a tripartite coalition around local actors, government and businesses. For Ali Idrissa, the head of the civil society organization, “it is a moral satisfaction to see the Nigerien government readjust to the process”. During the exchanges, they publish information on the extractive value chain: granting of extraction rights, amount of income paid to the government, use of this income both by the national government and by local authorities, etc.
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