Recent Articles

Natural Resource Governance Institute team members are set to take part in a full slate of activities at the EITI Global Conference in Lima, Peru, from February 24-25.

Guinea’s President Alpha Conde has reiterated his commitment to good governance and accountability following his reelection in November 2015, and appointed a reform-minded minister of mines; there is now more than ever a space for Guinean citizens to contribute to the agenda of mining sector governance reforms.

While natural resources have the potential to bring development to the poorest countries in the world, realizing that potential is often a challenge. Opaque allocation of rights to extract oil, gas or minerals; secrecy around who really owns the companies doing the extraction; and non-disclosure of contracts often conspire to prevent average citizens from benefiting from their country’s resources.

In this era of low commodity prices, oil- and mineral-rich governments in Eurasia are under acute financial pressure.

NRGI’s blog received tens of thousands of unique visits this year. Below, we share the 10 most-read blog pieces of 2015. From country-specific perspectives to globally relevant policy discussions, NRGI experts offered news, insight and prescriptions over the course of the year.

This year, NRGI and EITI Philippines (PH-EITI) partnered to develop contracts.ph-eiti.org, a country site that uses the ResourceContracts.org platform for publishing contracts in an open data format. The collaboration was initiated in May, when PH-EITI participated in the Extractives Open Data Leaders program at the International Open Data Conference in Ottawa.

Improving the impact of Mongolia’s extractive projects is not just about better contracts and proposed legal reforms. It is also very much about effectively monitoring and enforcing existing obligations.

There are close links between politics and the management of extractives such as oil, gas and minerals. Along the extractive industries value chain politicians are involved in setting the legal framework, allocating exploration and production licenses and deciding on the saving and spending of extractive revenues.

On 26 October 2015, the Natural Resource Governance Institute, the World Bank, and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) relaunched ResourceContracts.org in advance of the Open Government Partnership Summit in Mexico City. ResourceContracts.org was initially launched in 2012 as a searchable database of publicly available oil, gas, and mining contracts.

Indonesia's President recently outlined new economic policies which aim to produce greater certainty and efficiency in business through deregulation, de-bureaucratization, and improved law enforcement. His overall objective is to revive foreign investment in Indonesia in the context of global economic slowdown.

Today, the International Monetary Fund released its model for evaluating and designing oil and mining deals in resource-rich countries. NRGI welcomes the move. With growing availability of open data on extractives and a growing community of users of such models, it’s an important step toward bettering public scrutiny and understanding of resource deals and the flow of revenues.

NRGI president and CEO Daniel Kaufmann, who co-produces the Worldwide Governance Indicators published by the World Bank, discussed his recent article “Corruption Matters” with the IMF’s Bruce Edwards. Published in September in Finance & Development, the piece discusses the larger themes of governance and corruption in Latin America and elsewhere.

Confronting corruption in Latin America--one of the great development challenges the region faces--means understanding the shape it takes in respective nations. NRGI has addressed the topic extensively in the last months.

Parliamentarians have a crucial role to play in reviewing legislation on oil, gas and minerals, and in overseeing the government’s management of these extractive sectors. For instance, in Ghana members of parliament are actively overseeing the projections and allocations of oil revenues by scrutinizing compliance with the Petroleum Revenue Management Act...

Citizens from resource-rich African countries are showing ever-greater interest in the management of extractive resources. Civil society members and journalists are demanding transparency and accountability.

Poor governance and systemic corruption are prevalent in many resource-rich countries. Given their highly concentrated and highly profitable nature, the oil, gas and mining industries can generate the kind of political and private incentives that favor rent-seeking and institutional (or state) capture.

For Indonesia, lower commodity prices have had mixed results. Government revenues from oil, natural gas coal and other minerals have fallen, but lower prices have also helped the Southeast Asian net importer.

Crystol Energy founder Dr. Carole Nakhle discusses the changing contractual and fiscal environment for producer countries – particularly in the MENA region – amid a lengthy oil slump.

Ghana’s petroleum industry has undergone massive changes in recent years. Discoveries of commercial quantities of oil in the Jubilee fields in 2007 have triggered significant growth in Ghana’s petroleum sector and brought hope that petroleum resources will yield meaningful benefits for Ghana’s people...

Managing public expectations is one of the toughest challenges that governments face now that commodity prices have dramatically declined. A gathering earlier this month in Tanzania brought together public officials from 15 emerging producers to discuss the implications of the price drop on their strategies.

Negotiating complex mining deals can be challenging for resource-dependent countries under any circumstances. But commodity price volatility adds an additional challenge to the mix, as Mongolia’s recently concluded renegotiation with Rio Tinto on the Oyu Tolgoi project illustrates.

Minerals account for almost half of Mongolia’s gross domestic product, making extractive sector oversight an important function of the country’s government. In recent years, NRGI has worked with Mongolia’s leaders to improve transparency and better harness national revenues...

Across sub-Saharan Africa, civil society groups and journalists have been playing an increasingly important role in advocating for governance reform. Part of their aim is to increase the chances that their countries’ sub-soil wealth might be transformed into meaningful strides in development.

Tunisia has been celebrated by the international community as a beacon of hope and as fertile ground for transitional democracy in a region rocked by political conflict and unrest.