A partnership between the Natural Resource Governance Institute and the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaoundé, with support from French Co-operation, the Francophone Africa Regional Knowledge Hub strives to give participants a better understanding of governance challenges and the skills to engage with oil, gas and mining sectors more effectively from their respective fields.
The hub’s annual summer school course has been run since 2011, usually around the month of August. It has attracted annual participation of up to 40 members of the media and civil society from 12 different countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Niger.
A diverse team of experts with public and private sector backgrounds, mostly from across Francophone Western and Central Africa, teaches the course. The course is based on the NRGI decision chain model and included lessons on exploration and production processes, legislation and contracts, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, fiscal regimes and revenue management.
Before coming to the residential phase of the course, participants undertake three months of preparatory work, including reading and report writing.
The course is made up of sessions and modules that cover the extractive industries value chain. Each sessions is structured to include:
i. General concepts (theory and practice)
ii. Comparative analysis of current situations (from the region and beyond)
iii. Case studies from the region
iv. Policy labs to analyze regional case studies
v. Plenary discussions and conclusions
Practical policy labs
The school places strong emphasis on practical analytical skills. Each lesson provides participants with the opportunity to analyze real-life contracts, legislation and fiscal policies, and encourages comparisons between countries to determine best practices. Attending journalists practice their reporting and writing skills under the supervision of a skilled extractive sector reporter. Civil society delegates learn how to engage in constructive and evidence-based policy advocacy around extractive sector governance. All participants can sign up for a mentorship program that mobilizes experts in support of students' research and projects after the course.
The course includes a two-day field trip. Over the years participants have visited the oil pumping station in Kribi, about 300 kilometers from Yaoundé, a Geovic-operated nickel mining project and a Rodeo-operated gas project in Douala, Cameroon's economic capital. During these visits, students interact with company workers and members of affected communities. They work together to identify key issues and consider policy solutions. For journalists, site visits are structured as interviewing and reporting opportunities.