Zambia is experiencing another cycle of growth partly due to its mining sector. The country has known fluctuating fortunes during its long history of copper exploitation. This time, though, the government and other key stakeholders are keen to ensure that the mineral resources benefit all Zambians, and contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive growth.
A token of these intentions is a greater focus on promoting transparency in the management of revenues coming from the mining sector, as well as increasing the capacity of civil society.
In 2008, Zambia signed up to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) to increase transparency of revenues from the sector and ultimately its contribution to poverty reduction. The implementation of the EITI principles of transparency and accountability has promoted a multi-stakeholder dialogue between the Zambian Government, the mining companies operating in Zambia, and Zambian civil society organizations.
Today, any interested party can use ZEITI reconciliation reports to monitor revenues and other aspects of the management of the mining sector. Moreover citizens’ voices can be heard through the civil society representation at the EITI’s multi-stakeholder group.
On September 19, 2012, Zambia reached compliance status with EITI’s rules and principles. This represented a milestone for transparency in Zambia’s mining sector. However, much remains to be done to ensure that the sector effectively contributes to poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth. Zambia’s journey towards transparency has not been easy but important progress is being made.
The World Bank, through the EITI Multi-Donor Trust Fund, is supporting capacity building of civil society organizations (CSO) to strengthen their effective participation in the EITI process. A CSO consultation event was held in Lusaka on September 4, 2012, with the participation of 70 CSO representatives, development partners, and WB staff.
Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga, Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development addressed the audience to underscore the Government’s commitment to EITI implementation and encourage CSOs to identify ways and means to strengthen their role in EITI implementation (watchdog for transparency and accountability in the mining sector).
World Bank Country Director for Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, Dr. Kundhavi Kadiresan, also exhorted participants for “larger number of people to be involved to increase chances of domesticating the values of transparency, participation, collaboration, and accountability for common purposes of good management of the nation’s mining and other resources”.
More practically, Kadiresan contended the need for “more organizations and individuals advocating for and taking an active part in the transparency work. The [CSOs] must build their expertise to critically examine the industry issues and provide recommendations so that the sector thrives and benefits all Zambians”.
The capacity building activities for Zambian CSOs will start in February 2013 .
Similar consultation events between the World Bank and Civil Society groups have taken place in 10 other EITI-implementing countries.
“The engagements with CSOs allow not only increasing CSO’s voice in the management of extractive industries but in service delivery more broadly,” said Dr. Kadiresan. “Zambia is taking critical steps in the right direction, and as the World Bank we support all these important efforts.”