Transparency will bring benefits for Canadian business too

Africa Progress Panel welcomes Canadian moves to increase mining transparency.

Transparency of revenue flows linked to Canadian mining projects in Africa will lead to longer-lasting business agreements and a more stable operating environment, as well as benefitting local communities.

As the mining exploration industry gathers in Toronto this week for the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) International Convention, the Africa Progress Panel (APP), which is chaired by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, welcomes Canada’s moves towards greater transparency in the mining industry.

At last year’s G8 meeting, Prime Minister Stephen Harper called for more transparency in the Canadian mining industry, initiating consultations to introduce US and European-style legislation requiring extractive companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. The Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, confirmed the Canadian government’s commitment to these efforts in his keynote address at PDAC earlier this week, saying that if Canadian don’t implement adequate standards, the federal government will step in to enact legislation by April 2015.

Caroline Kende-Robb, Executive Director of the APP, said: “Increased transparency is critical, because it reduces the opportunities for corruption and improves accountability too. When local communities can access the benefits better of the resources beneath their feet, then they are more likely to support local mining projects, to have better and more stable relationships with foreign business. Fairer deals last longer.”

The stakes for Africa are high. Africa’s natural resources are large enough and valuable enough to improve significantly the lives of millions of Africans. But while the continent’s resources have driven economic growth, not enough Africans have benefitted so far.

The Africa Progress Panel published a landmark report last year on Africa’s oil, gas, and mining sectors, including a recommendation that the international community adopt a global common standard for extractive transparency.

Toronto Stock Exchange listed companies have approximately C$27 billion worth of assets in Africa with more than 680 projects in 35 African countries.

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