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AGI Newsletter, May 2013

The May Issue of the AGI Newsletter is available through the link :http://www.iag-agi.org/IMG/pdf/AGI-Newsletter-38.pdf

In this year dedicated by the African Union Commission to ’Panafricanisme and African Renaissance’, the continent is at a turning
point of its development and African policy makers have critical choices to make. They can either invest their natural resource revenue in people to generate jobs and opportunities for millions in present and future generations. Or they can squander this opportunity, allowing jobless growth and inequality to take root.

In many African countries, natural resource revenues are widening the gap between rich and poor. Although much has been achieved, a decade of highly impressive growth has not brought comparable improvements in sustainaible reduction of poverty, health, education and nutrition. The AGI is convinced that Africa can better manage its vast natural resource wealth to improve the lives of the region’s people by setting out bold national agendas for strengthening transparency and accountability. However, international tax avoidance and evasion, corruption, and weak governance represent major challenges.

Within this framework, this issue of the Newsletter wants to amplifie the echo of the last Report of the Africa Progress Panel. It particularly urges all OECD countries to recognize the cost of inaction in this vital area. Africa loses twice as much in illicit financial outflows as it receives in international aid. The Africa Progress Panel finds it unconscionable that some companies, often supported by dishonest officials, are using unethical tax avoidance, transfer pricing and anonymous company ownership to maximize their profits, while millions of Africans go without adequate nutrition, health and
education. The report details five deals between 2010 and 2012, which cost the Democratic Republic of the Congo over US$1.3 billion in revenues through the undervaluation of assets and sale to foreign investors. This sum represents twice the annual health and education budgets of a country with one of the worst child mortality rates in the world and seven million pupils out of school.

Building trust is harder than changing policies – yet it is the ultimate condition for successful policy reform.

This year’s report identifies a shared agenda for change :

- African governments must improve their governance and strengthen national capacity to manage extractive industries as part of a broader economic and developmental strategy ;
- African governments should put transparency and accountability at the heart of natural resource policies, secure a fair share of natural resource revenue for their citizens, and spread the benefits of this revenue via equitable public spending ;
- The international community should build on the US Dodd-Frank Act and comparable EU legislation to develop a global standard for transparency and disclosure, develop a credible and effective multilateral response to tax evasion and avoidance, and tackle money laundering and anonymous shell companies ;
- International business should follow best practices on transparency, help build national capacity, procure more products and services locally, and raise standards in all areas of corporate accountability
and responsibility ;
- Non State Actors should build capacity and continue to hold governments and companies to account.

You will find in this Newsletter :

- Part I : The Natural Resource Paradox : Resource Wealth Amid Human Poverty
- Part II : The Commodity “Super Cycle” as an Engine of Growth
- Part III : The Costs of Mismanagement
- Part IV : Unlocking The Potential for Future Generations
- Part V : Shared Agenda for Change that Benefits All


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