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The Africa Steering Committee (ASC) of the Publish What You Pay campaign met in Accra on the 3rd and 4th of October. Several points were on the agenda of this first meeting, the major ones being: the development of a regional advocacy strategy towards African institutions; the production of a position paper to contribute to the on-going debate over the future of the EITI; the revision and validation of the protection strategy of African members of the campaign; discussion on the governance of PWYP in Africa, including the drafting of a preliminary PWYP Africa Charter; validation of the process to review the overall strategy and governance of PWYP internationally.
The members of the Africa Steering Committee have noted and welcomed the liveliness of the campaign at the continental level with the launching of coalitions in Zimbabwe (August 2011), Madagascar (September 2011) and Senegal (before the end of this year). Thus, with twenty three (23) national coalitions, Africa is the continent with more coalitions and members.
Recognizing this growing number of members, which involves more responsibility, the ASC has resolved to ensure that the PWYP campaign is rooted in its own principles and values and that these values are at the heart of the action of PWYP in Africa both regionally and nationally. In this sense, the adoption of the Charter of PWYP in Africa will enshrine the principles of transparency and accountability into our governance system while also providing a solid base and an African identity for our action in the continent.
In addition, the ASC noted that this first meeting is a starting point in the direction of contributing to the building of more democratic and stronger African institutions that integrate the principles of transparency and accountability in the governance of extractive resources to promote sustainable development, and defend the rights of African people to be involved in decision making about natural resources that belong to them all.
Concerning the safety of members of civil society and of PWYP in Africa, the members of the Africa Steering Committee expressed concern about the arrests of members of PWYP in the Central African Republic and about the continuous administrative constraints faced by civil society organizations in Equatorial Guinea. A statement was made public about it.
A position consistent with the protection strategy validated at this meeting and which constitutes now a strategic pillar of PWYP in Africa. The aim of this strategy is to ensure that activists everywhere are able to conduct their advocacy, respecting the law, but free to express their opinions and even their disapproval of certain laws or government decisions that prevent the realization of freedom of expression and association and other fundamental rights. A Prevention and Protection Committee (PPC) was set up to ensure strategic guidance, rapid response and monitoring of the security situation of PWYP campaigners. Jean Claude Katende and Ali Idrissa were appointed as members of the PPC.
Finally, after two days of discussions and fruitful exchanges, decisive steps were taken and concrete results were achieved. One of the most important decisions is related to the internal functioning of the Africa Steering Committee. In this regard, the members decided to have a rotating Chair and Vice-Chair to play the political role and ensure the visibility of the campaign at the continental level. Both positions are taken up by an Anglophone and a Francophone for a period of six months. Mr Steve Manteaw (West Africa) and Mr Gilbert Maoundonodji (Central Africa) are appointed as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively. The next meeting of the Africa Steering Committee is scheduled for January 2012 in N’Djamena, Chad.
Accra, 5 October 2011
The members of the Africa Steering Committee:
Steve Manteaw, Chair, Representative of Anglophone West Africa
Gilbert Maoundonodji, Vice-Chair, Representative of Central Africa
Mamadou Taran Diallo, Representative of Francophone West Africa
Bubelwa Kaiza, Representative of Southern and Eastern Africa
Hannah Koranteng, EITI Board member
Ali Idrissa, EITI Board member
Jean Claude Katende, EITI Board member