The first ECOWAS Mining and Petroleum Forum and Exhibition (ECOMOF) opened in Accra yesterday with a call on leaders in the sub-region to provide the legal framework to enhance transparency and accountability in the natural resource sector.
President John Mahama, who made the call in an address read on his behalf at the opening session of the three-day conference by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, urged African leaders to ensure good natural resource governance and empower their citizens to demand accountability and transparency in development outcomes of benefits from payments made by mining firms to the government.
The forum, which is on the theme: “Valorising West Africa’s Mineral and Petroleum Resources through Regional Cooperation, “ is organised by the ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with the government of Ghana.
It is being attended by participants from both the private and public sectors of 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states.
The aim of the forum is to strengthen existing linkages and create new ones between all sections of the mining and petroleum value chain.
Exhibitors from all over the world have showcased latest technology and products of minerals and petroleum which are on the market.
During the three-day event, ECOMOF would feature over 30 different conference sessions with industry experts discussing issues encompassing the complete spectrum of the mining and petroleum sector.
Maximise extractive resources
President Mahama said natural resource extraction should benefit the people and also provide a platform for effective implementation of the extractive industry initiative standards and other measures.
He urged the leaders to regionalise the African mining vision as well as maximise extractive resources and revenues to improve human development outcomes.
President Mahama urged the stakeholders in the sector to foster direct linkages between the extractive industries and the non-extractive economy.
He further called on the leaders to align their companies with global capital markets and ensure the correct positioning of equity and initial public offering.
He said Ghana operated an extractive mining legal and fiscal regime in line with international best practices.
The President said Ghana had a stable regulatory environment that provided transparent and equitable treatment for all investors and stakeholders.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Mr Alex Mould, for his part, said the petroleum sector in Ghana was undergoing a major transformation following the discovery of large deep water oil and gas fields.
He observed that the dynamics of West Africa mining and petroleum industries were changing with new legislation on local content.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, said experts from the mining and petroleum sectors in the region would discuss issues such as procurement in the mining and petroleum industry supply chain and good governance, transparency and revenue management.
He said they would also discuss how the small-scale and artisanal mining could be developed into a regulated sector.