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FEATURE STORY

Young Cameroonians to Promote Transparency in the Extractive Industries

April 15, 2014

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In October 2013, Cameroon was designated an EITI-compliant country.
  • Workshops have been organized across the country to build awareness of this issue among the youth.
  • Young Cameroonians, who account for more than half of the population, want to participate in discussions related to inclusive growth.

GAROUA, April 14, 2014 – Transparency in the extractive industries is a subject dear to Keimba Mobe Agnes Ursule’s heart. At age 23, this young woman, a Radio Salaaman announcer, recently participated in a training and information workshop on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international standard for transparency in the extractive sector, organized in Garoua, the inland port city in the North Region.

These workshops, the product of a joint initiative between the World Bank and Dynamique Mondiale des Jeunes (DMJ), were held in two other cities in the country —Bertoua in the East Region and Bamenda, the capital of the Northwest Region—, with the aim of building awareness among youth regarding this issue.

Open Quotes

The special situation of young people in Cameroonian society, in particular their large demographic and their exposure to underemployment, increasingly pushes this population group to play an active role in discussions on inclusive growth and poverty reduction Close Quotes

Faustin Koyassé
Senior economist at the World Bank

Although Cameroon became an EITI member in 2005, the country was granted EITI-compliant status only in October 2013, following two unsuccessful attempts (2010 and 2012). “My wish is to make the EITI a reality in my country,” the young woman explained.

Now that she is more conversant with the issue, Keimba has set herself the goal of providing information on the EITI to her peers and ensuring that young people are aware of the role they can play in promoting transparency in a sector that is often seen as lacking in transparency.

As Faustin Koyassé, a senior economist at the World Bank, points out: “The special situation of young people in Cameroonian society, in particular their large demographic and their exposure to underemployment, increasingly pushes this population group to play an active role in discussions on inclusive growth and poverty reduction.” According to Koyassé, when it comes to jobs, “one potential source of growth is the exploitation of mining and petroleum resources.”

The Cameroonian government is seeking to make the country a preferred destination for foreign direct investment in the extractive sector, given that it is well endowed with these resources (oil and gas, base metals—iron, aluminum, manganese, and copper, precious stones—diamonds and sapphire, and precious metals—gold and platinum).

The EITI standard requires, among other things, the publication of contextual information on the granting of licenses or government shareholdings as well as the publication of all payments made and revenue received by the government.

The young people who attended these workshops outlined their short-, medium-, and long-term plans, such as setting up and operating EITI booths at local events, creating a virtual platform to facilitate the updating and dissemination of information, or even visiting mining and petroleum sites.