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Looking ahead: The move towards adoption of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative by the Government of Zimbabwe

MBy Mutuso Dhliwayo (Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association)

Introduction

This is the second in a series of blogs by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) to document and profile ongoing efforts by the Zimbabwe government to adopt and implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the advocacy role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

Of late, we have witnessed renewed efforts by the Zimbabwean Government to adopt the EITI.[1] ZELA and Publish What You Pay Zimbabwe Chapter played a role to reignite this interest through blended advocacy strategies. Both oral and written submissions on the need to revive interest in joining EITI were made to Parliament Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development during pre-budget public consultations. Further, ZELA worked with various media houses including the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Television (ZTV) to ratchet pressure on adoption on EITI[2].  ZELA, also engaged with champions within the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) to revive government’s interest to join EITI. 

Consequently, in 2018 MoFED approached ZELA and indicated the desire of the Government of Zimbabwe to join the EITI asking for guidance and advice on the steps and processes of joining. ZELA advised that the first step was a high-level policy statement/ commitment and the upcoming 2019 National Budget Statement offered that opportunity. The Ministry went on to make that commitment to join the EITI in the 2019 National Budget Statement.[3]

This was followed by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development (MMMD) approaching ZELA to coordinate a “Dialogue on the prospects of adopting and implementing the EITI in Zimbabwe”. This request coincided with the holding of the 8th EITI Global Conference that was held in Paris from the 17-19th of June 2019. ZELA, with the support of development partners like United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) facilitated the participation of the three MMMD officials including the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Onesimo Mazai Moyo, the Senior Legal Officer and Minerals Development Officer. During the meeting, the Government of Zimbabwe officials had an opportunity to meet the EITI Secretariat. The Permanent Secretary also made some remarks in the closing plenary, reiterating Zimbabwe’s desire to join the EITI.[4]

The EITI Global Conference was followed by a meeting organized by ZELA in collaboration with the MMMD to explore the prospects of Zimbabwe joining the EITI. The meeting was held on the 15th of July.[5] Its objective was to sensitize stakeholders on what the EITI was about and how Zimbabwe can join and the advantages and disadvantages thereof. The meeting was supported by GIZ, Oxfam and UNDP. The resolutions from the meeting were as follows:

  1. Need for a political declaration / commitment by the Government that Zimbabwe is joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
  2. A much bigger consultation is needed where Government comes with its own analysis of the benefits of joining EITI. This should be undertaken by the relevant Government Ministries
  3. ZELA must hold EITI Inclusive consultative meetings and get more stakeholders on board. The EITI process might be the same in the countries but application can be different
  4. ZELA to simplify the EITI Standard and share this with different stakeholders
  5. Need to know who will comprise the EITI Board especially ensuring that those people bring value

The July 15 meeting was followed by a meeting held from the 2nd-3rd of October, organized by the MMMD with support from GIZ. This meeting was attended by the EITI Secretariat. The objectives of the meeting were as follows:

  1. Consolidate efforts towards building a common understanding of EITI drawing on expertise of the EITI Secretariat and other experts
  2. Have comprehensive understanding of the implications of Zimbabwe joining the EITI against the sanctions imposed under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act
  3. Come up with clear, tangible steps on the next steps towards adoption and implementation of the EITI or a clear road map

The visit of the EITI Secretariat and its significance

The EITI Secretariat headed by its chair, Right Honourable Helen Clarke and the Africa Director, Bady Balde and its Executive Director, Mark Robinson visited Zimbabwe from the 8th -10th of October. The objective was to meet stakeholders that included Government officials, Civil Society Organizations, Development Partners, Embassies and business to discuss the possibility of Zimbabwe joining the EITI and how this can help Zimbabwe achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During the visit, ZELA was requested to convene CSO- EITI Secretariat meeting. The meeting focused on the efforts of CSOs under the auspices of the Publish What You Pay Zimbabwe coalition to advocate for the adoption and implementation of the EITI by the Government of Zimbabwe. Apart from ZELA, other PWYP members that attended are Institute for Sustainability in Africa, Transparency International Zimbabwe. Other CSOs that also attended are ZEPARU and Veritas.

Based on its interactions with the Zimbabwean Government during its visit, the EITI Secretariat invited the Zimbabwe Government to be a guest at the 45th EITI Board meeting that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from the 16th-17th of October 2019. Three representatives from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development attended the meeting. They attended the meeting as observers alongside Angola, South Africa and Uganda which are regarded as EITI priority countries. Zimbabwe also attended a sideline meeting on Regional Mainstreaming Workshop for National Coordinators and Supreme Audit institutions alongside Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Sierra Leone,Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The 2020 Pre Budget Strategy Paper( BSP) refers to the mining sector as one of the sector with the greatest potential to anchor growth of the economy with the potential to become a US$12 billion industry by the year 2023.However for this to be achieved , its greatly dependent on transparency in the mining sector. Transparency is critical in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Joining EITI is an enabler to attracting FDI. To that end the BSP states that the 2020 National Budget Statement (NBS) should proffer specific steps on Zimbabwe joining the EITI as a way of enhancing transparency and curbing any corruption activities in the sector that may deter investment.

Conclusion

While we must caution that joining the EITI and implementing the EITI is a process and not an event, unlike in the past, we are seeing encouraging signs from the Government of Zimbabwe to join the EITI that should be nurtured and encouraged. This is the first time that a high-powered delegation from the EITI Secretariat has visited Zimbabwe. This is also the first time we are seeing an attempt by the Government of Zimbabwe to take concrete steps beyond mere pronouncements by the Government to adopt the EITI. As CSOs, we need to come up with strategies that will keep the Zimbabwe government interested and engaged in the adoption of the EITI Agenda. It has been largely due to our efforts that EITI has remained on the radar of the Government of Zimbabwe and we need to continue to do that.


[1] Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, 2019. Zimbabwe’s move to adopt the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative commendable

[2] http://www.zbc.co.zw/govt-urged-to-implement-extractive-industry-transparency-initiative/

[3] Government of Zimbabwe , 2019 National Budget Statement. Mining Transparency , paragraphs 526- 532

[4] Mutuso Dhliwayo and Joyce Machiri, 2019.  Momentum for the adoption of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative builds in Zimbabwe.

[5] Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, 2019.  Report on Dialogue on the prospects of adopting and implementing the EITI in Zimbabwe.

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