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Make Mining Codes History? Oxfam America in West Africa

posted by dawn Geography: Africa west africa Topics: mining oxfam

April 22, 2008

Make Mining Codes History? Oxfam America in West Africa


According to Oxfam America's website, "Oxfam America and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed on April 4, 2008 to collaborate on creating a common mining code for all of West Africa."

The agreement, according to Oxfam, "...will help the 15 member countries adhere to uniform standards created jointly by governments and citizens, and increase protection of human rights and the environment while promoting investment."

ECOWAS, according to their homepage, has a "mission to promote economic integration in 'all fields of economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, social and cultural matters'..."

Voice of America notes that "Oxfam and ECOWAS recently led meetings with affected community members from 11 West African countries."

Oxfam America, according to the information on their website, has taken on the role of "[overseeing] the participation of civil society representatives" in the drafting of a new mining law.

What makes Oxfam (ahem, Oxfam America) qualified to "oversee" mining affected communities and civil society groups in West Africa in meetings about mining law reform has not been addressed in media reports to date.

IRIN news services states that the new mining code, to be "ratified by parliaments in 2009, aims to put in place transparent financial practices, impose strict environmental standards, and make sure more of the revenue from the industry ends up in the hands of governments and communities."

IRIN quotes Oxfam's West African Director Mamadou Bitteye as stating that "National mining codes were weakened in many countries in the 1990s when the World Bank pushed governments to deregulate, making companies less accountable."

According to VOA, "A number of further consultations are planned with the private sector and other groups during the coming months before the West Africa mining code is finalized and comes before member states for a vote."

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