African transparency activists meet Europe’s Commissioner for Energy

Source: PWYP Africa
Date: 12 Sep 2021

African civil society activists met the European Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, and urged him to ensure that openness and accountability to Africa’s people are at the heart of Europe’s growing energy relationship with Africa.

Members of the Publish What You Pay Africa coalition from Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Ghana and Nigeria met the European Union’s top energy official in the Nigerian capital on Wednesday 10th September, for an open and constructive discussion lasting an hour.

Publish What You Pay Africa is a civil society coalition active in more than 20 African countries. It works to ensure that revenues paid to governments by oil and mining companies are fully disclosed to the public, so that citizens can ensure the money is used for the public good.

Coalition members asked Mr Piebalgs to ensure that the European Union:

  • helps the 16 African Candidate countries of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to become fully compliant with the EITI by 2010.
  • encourages other African countries that are rich in oil, gas and minerals to implement the EITI.
  • offers technical and financial support to African civil society groups so that they are able to fully engage in the EITI and broader efforts to promote transparency, both within their own countries and across Africa.
  • speaks out on behalf of activists facing harrassment for their work for transparency and against corruption.
  • continues its dialogue with the African Union and countries with major investments in Africa, such as China, to help make transparency into a global standard in the oil and mining industries.
  • encourages the World Bank to continue to support transparency in the African energy sector, with particular reference to Chad.

Commissioner Piebalgs responded sympathetically to these concerns. He reaffirmed that the European Union will work with the African Union and African civil society to ensure that transparency is an integral part of Europe’s energy relationship with Africa.

Commissioner Piebalgs said that Nigeria’s EITI law, which makes openness in the oil sector a legal requirement, could be a source of inspiration for other African countries.

“The Commissioner openly recognised the link between transparency, good governance and the stability of African countries that supply energy to the world market,” said Christian Mounzeo, president of La Rencontre pour la Paix et les Droits de l’Homme, a leading human rights organization from the Republic of Congo.

“The meeting was a very encouraging opportunity for civil society to engage the European Union on an issue that is vitally important to countries like Nigeria. We hope to continue this dialogue, which will be essential for the success of the new energy partnership between Europe and Africa,” said Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, executive director of Nigeria’s Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre.

Celine Nenodji Mbaipeur, Head of Programmes at the Alternative Research group on the Monitoring of the Chad-Cameroon Oil Project, and Steve Manteaw, the campaigns co-ordinator of Ghana’s Integrated Social Development Centre, also took part in the discussion with Mr Piebalgs, who was accompanied by European Commission officials.

The European Union and African Union adopted the Joint Europe Africa Strategy in December last year which includes a firm commitment to involve African civil society in the strategy’s implementation. On issues of energy, transparency and public accountability, Publish What You Pay Africa looks forward to taking an active part.

For more information:
Marie-Ange Kalenga, PWYP Africa Coordinator, [email protected], +32 479 08 03 56 (Brussels), +234 (0)7 057342071 (Abuja)
Radhika Sarin, PWYP International Coordinator, [email protected] pay.org, +44 (0) 7917 885 302