An Assessment of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), founded in 2003, was formed as a tool to improve and promote transparency in the oil and gas, and mining sectors, respectively. It was primarily designed to overcome the challenge of revenues in the extractive industries being diverted for unproductive purposes and therefore not being properly accounted for. A lack of transparency means that one of the primary and necessary conditions for accountability cannot be met. In the absence of accountability, corruption proliferates, placing wealth in the hands of the ruling elite at the expense of broad-based development. While transparency is necessary, it is not sufficient for real accountability. Nonetheless, it is a critical first step. The EITI has become the global standard for transparency in the extractives sector. However, debate over its success continues. This briefing examines the key contributing factors that have undermined the potential value of the EITI, and sets out recommendations on how the initiative can be utilised to meaningfully improve transparency and accountability, particularly in mineral wealthy but fragile mining contexts. With the 27th annual Investing in African Mining Indaba on the horizon, it is critical to assess how mining codes and international agreements such as the EITI can gain more traction and impact on the ground.