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Vol 52 No 6

Published 18th March 2011

Pushing for probity

Pressure is growing for greater accountability and transparency in oil and mining operations, especially in Africa, due to the strengthening of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the imminent application of the United States’ Dodd-Frank Act. Yet major disagreements between companies, governments and anti-corruption activists emerged at the EITI’s biennial conference in Paris on 2-3 March, its biggest ever. Large oil companies, led by Royal Dutch Shell, argue that any extension of the compulsory accountability provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act would undermine voluntary agreements such as EITI (AC Vol 51 No 19).

European and African officials backed moves at the Paris conference to toughen laws on company payment disclosures, despite strong opposition from oil and mining companies, including some who sponsored the conference. EITI was launched to promote accountability in oil and mining by encouraging companies to report all the payments they make to governments and for governments to declare what they receive from the companies. Nine years on, it remains a set of voluntary principles without legal force. EITI has 35 member countries, eleven of which have passed the ‘validation’ exercise that verifies their adherence to the disclosure of extractive industry public revenues.

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