Monrovia, Liberia; November 24, 2013: Participants at the just ended Learning Exchange Program intended to enhance implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the African region say they have gained a lot from Liberia’s experiences in EITI implementation.
The South-South Learning Exchange Program, held in Monrovia from November 17-23, 2013, was sponsored by the World Bank and the LEITI; and was designed to promote experience and knowledge sharing on EITI implementation amongst Liberia, Tanzanian and Ethiopia.
Speaking on Friday at the Royal Grand Hotel in Monrovia during a farewell dinner climaxing the program, Ethiopian State Minister for Planning and Policy Implementation, His Excellency Ato Addisu Arega who headed the Ethiopian Delegation said, the tour has enabled his country to learn a lot from Liberia’s achievements in the EITI implementation.
Minister Arega, who responsibilities also include monitoring the Agriculture and Forestry Sectors in Ethiopia said, the lessons learned from the exchange program will enhance Ethiopia’s quest to become EITI Complaint.
Also speaking, LEITI Head of Secretariat Samson S. Tokpah said, the program truly supported learning amongst the three countries. He noted that while Liberia is regarded as a road model in EITI implementation, evidenced by the several gains the country has made over the years, the study tour also enabled the Liberian EITI to learn from the progress, challenges and opportunities of the other countries. “We have also learned a lot from you,” Mr. Tokpah said to the Ethiopian and Tanzanian delegations in a closing remark.
The learning exchange focused on Legislative Framework for EITI Implementation, Secretariat Operations, Forestry Sector Monitoring, Mining, as well as general stakeholders’ involvement in the EITI process. It was also intended to enhance the capacity of the steering committees to lead the effective implementation of EITI; strengthen good governance of natural resources for poverty reduction as well as advance the multi-stakeholder dialogues and the participation of citizens in Natural Resource Management.
To facilitate the learning, the delegates also met with key policy makers in Liberia including Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boikai; EITI Board Member, Senate Pro-Tempore Gbehzongar Findley as well as Lands, Mines and Energy Minister Patrick Sendolo.
The delegates also paid a tour visit to Arcelor Mittal Liberia’s operations site in Buchanan on Friday, November 22, 2013, to get experience of how extractive companies’ operations support EITI implementation in Liberia. In Buchanan, the delegates met with county officials, representatives of civil society organizations, chiefs, elders and other community leaders, soliciting their feedbacks on the EITI process in Liberia.
Tanzanian was declared EITI compliant in December 2012 and is in process to consolidate its achievements towards greater transparency in the EITI by creating a legal framework for natural resource management. The Ethiopian Government has expressed its desire to implement the EITI and is working to submit an application for an EITI candidate status.
Liberia signed on to the EITI in 2005 and was the first African country to become compliant in 2009. The Liberian EITI has made tremendous achievements in the global EITI implementation records. Liberia is the first country globally to include Agriculture and Forestry in its EITI program; the first country to expand its EITI scope to include Contract Transparency; and one of few countries that have regularly published their EITI Reports. Liberia also launched its Post Contract Award Process Audit Report in May 2013, the first of its kind in the EITI implementation.