Paving the Way for More Citizen Participation in Resource Governance

Tanzanite miners in Tanzania. (Flickr/look_west)
Country: Tanzania
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On 5-7 September 2012, a consortium of RWI partners and allies organized a national mining, oil and gas conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. More than 70 participants from Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Tanzania attended the event, called “Extractive Industry, Sovereignty and Sustainable Development.”

The national conference had a focus on Tanzania but drew lessons and experiences from other countries in the continent. Local communities and citizen groups focused on governance are working to ensure Tanzania's new constitution contains provisions for greater transparency and accountability in the management of natural resources and protection of public interests.

Miners, community members, activists, policy- and lawmakers compared ideas, governance opportunities and challenges across the continent, with many participants noting that natural resource policies are often developed with little or no input from the public. In Tanzania, citizens have a three-week period to comment on the development of the natural gas policy.

Conference attendees also pointed to a lack of information-sharing within different government ministries and departments and with local-level officials, and cited the need to balance economic, social and environmental goals.

Silas Olan’g is RWI Africa Senior Regional Associate.

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