Location: Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC
The panel discussion will highlight gaps in existing oil sector transparency efforts, and explore why U.S. government action, and in particular, transparency legislation introduced in the Senate (the Energy Security Through Transparency Act – S.1700) is a critical contribution to addressing corruption and improving the lives of the citizens of Equatorial Guinea.
The African nation of Equatorial Guinea is of critical strategic importance to the United States. Nestled in the Gulf of Guinea, the majority of its oil production comes to the U.S., and it is the third largest oil supplier to the U.S. from Africa, after Nigeria and Angola. U.S. companies dominate production there, and as a result, it is currently the fourth largest destination for overall US investment in sub-Saharan Africa. The recent oil boom has led to massive windfalls for the country, with government oil revenues going from $190 million in 1993 to $4.8 billion in 2007.
With a population of 650,000, Equatorial Guinea’s GDP per capita is on par with that of Italy and Spain. However, according to government figures, over 75% of the population lives in poverty. This is the result of rampant corruption at the highest levels. For example, oil money laundering by government elites into the U.S. has been under investigation by the U.S Congress for the past several years and was highlighted at a February 2010 hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Corruption has also fueled human rights abuses and led to official neglect of the government’s obligations to uphold their citizen’s social and economic rights. The government is extremely opaque, and stifles freedoms of information and association, making it nearly impossible for civil society to hold the government accountable for how it manages the country’s energy resources. While Equatorial Guinea joined the voluntary Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), it was recently de-listed for not complying with the initiative’s requirements. Given the prominence of the U.S. role in Equatorial Guinea’s oil sector, it is critical that the U.S. government show leadership to help stem corruption.
About the Speakers
School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
Johns Hopkins University
Rome Building Auditorium
1619 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
Metro: Farragut North or Dupont Circle
Space is limited, please RSVP here
Please click here to download the invitation flyer.