Ever since the US passed legislation last July ensuring that all oil, gas and mining companies would have to be far more transparent in their financial reporting, we have been pushing hard for similar action in Europe. We want all extractive companies around the world to publish what they pay the governments of the countries where the operate – therefore empowering local anti-corruption groups with the information they need to hold their leaders accountable for revenue received.
This campaign received a big boost on the weekend with the publication of a letter from President Sarkozy of France to ONE co-founder Bono announcing that he was prepared to show leadership on the issue. Bono had previously written an op-ed for Le Monde calling for exactly that.
The English text of the letter says:
“In your article, you bring up the need for transparency in the area of natural resources’ extraction in Africa. I completely agree with you. France is organising an experts’ conference on this issue in March in Paris. As of now, I have decided to ask the European Union to adopt, as speedily as possible, legislation to compel industries in the extractive sector to disclose their payments to all countries in which they operate.”
So congratulations to President Sarkozy and his team for championing such an important issue. Transparency campaigners across Africa will now be looking to you to carry this forward – and ensure that the wave of transparency reform does not lose momentum.