The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is geared towards improving governance in the oil, gas and minerals sector. The EITI currently includes 53 countries across the world, half of which are in Africa. It is governed by multi-stakeholder coalitions representing business, governments and civil society organisations.
The EITI started out in 2007 by disclosing payments made by companies to governments in the form of license fees, taxes and other payments. Governments in turn disclosed payments they received from companies to identify possible discrepancies in reported revenues. Disclosures under the EITI are now increasingly fine-grained, focusing on identifying beneficial owners, publicising contracts, commodity trading transparency and project level investments. The EITI seeks to tackle corruption, promote accountability, strengthen institutions, and contribute to domestic resource mobilisation. The current approach also highlights gender and environmental considerations in government and company reporting.
Many EITI countries are currently facing a triple crisis occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic: a health emergency, a massive fall in government revenues triggered by oil and commodity price falls, and an economic crisis caused by a huge reduction in global demand. This lecture explores the continued salience of governance and transparency work in the extractives sector during a period of acute global crisis, amid growing constraints on government budgets and capacity, and increasing limitations on civic space and advocacy.
This Sussex Development Lecture addresses this set of issues to place the EITI in a broader perspective as a leading global transparency and accountability initiative.
This lecture is part of the Sussex Development Lecture series: Global development challenges: towards a politics of hope.