Accra: Some African ministers in the extractive industry are meeting in Accra, Ghana's capital, to brainstorm on existing extractive laws and challenges, with the aim of fashioning out a work programme for leaders at the highest level of decision making on the continent.
The two-day workshop being attended by representatives from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda as well as local and international experts in the sector, is to share experiences and discuss preliminary findings of a recent study on the sector in Africa.
The African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), an organisation that provides high level policy analysis, research and advisory support to African countries, conducted the study to enable it to set up an extractive resource service on the continent.
Dr Edward Brown, ACET Director of Policy Advisory, said at the opening of the workshop Friday that 'the interface between research and policy advisory is very weak in most African countries,' which underpins the many challenges that prevent optimal impact of policy decisions on the economies.
Currently, he said, ACET is providing policy advisory services to Ghana, Liberia Sierra Leone and Rwanda in several areas of the economy.
The ACET study, which covered nine sub-Saharan African countries in West, Central, East and Southern Africa, was limited to oil, gas and mineral resources. The countries are Ghana, Rwanda, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Uganda, Mozambique, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The findings showed that poorly structured tax laws and inconsistent enforcement of provisions when dealing with multinationals costs African governments much needed revenue in the sector. It also showed lack of effectiveness of the extractive laws and lack of harmony between country's vision, tax laws and development agenda and an imbalance in the laws that protect the interest of governments versus the commun ity land rights.
Under capacity, the study found that most countries in Africa are beset with insufficient capability to regulate the extractive sector and avoid the 'resource curse' as well as to enable governments to negotiate sound agreements.
It indicated poor revenue management, including ineffective investment of income from extractives and weak systems for geological data management and extractive resource planning.
The workshop is also expected to come out with a priority list of possible commo n areas of interventions and to have a comprehensive record of the proceedings and conclusion to form the basis for future dialogue.
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African extractive ministers meet to explore effective strategies
Date:11 September 2010
Source:Afrique en ligne