Cape Coast, Ghana, May 20, 2008 —
Companies, local communities, and governments must work together to ensure
that people benefit from oil, gas, and mining projects in Sub-Saharan Africa,
if the industry is to continue expanding in the region, experts agreed
at a recent workshop held in Ghana. The workshop was led by IFC, a member
of the World Bank Group.
At times of record high commodity prices, the extraction and sale of gold,
copper, oil, and other natural resources plays an increasingly important
role in creating jobs and wealth for African nations. To sustain benefits
such as employment, training, and opportunities to sell goods and services,
companies must share responsibility for development projects with local
governments and community leaders.
“We are committed to building solid and positive relationships in the
communities where we operate and believe that participatory approaches
are innovative ways to unlock value," said Mathieu Bouchard, Rio Tinto
Alcan’s Vice President for Sustainable Development.
Nana Kweku Baah I, the Chief of New Atuabo, near Tarkwa in Western Ghana,
agreed: “I believe that it is only through effective engagement, collaboration
and transparent partnership among all the stakeholders, especially between
the mining companies and our community members, that our natural resources
can be effectively harnessed for our mutual benefits.”
At the workshop, leading extractive industries companies joined community
leaders and local government officials from across Sub-Saharan Africa to
share experiences and new methods for maximizing the benefits that extractive
industry projects can bring to local people.
“Companies are increasingly recognizing that the quality of local development
affects their bottom line through productivity increases, risk mitigation,
and improved global reputation,” said Imoni Akpofure, IFC Country Manager
for Ghana. “The most effective way to ensure success is to include local
stakeholders in the planning and implementation of community development
Industry professionals from Chevron, Gold Fields Ghana, Newmont Mining,
Rio Tinto Alcan, and the Ghana Chamber of Mines sponsored and attended
the event, which was led by IFC’s Oil, Gas, and Mining Sustainable Community
Development Fund (CommDev) in cooperation with Business-Community Synergies
and Environmental Resources Management.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth
in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing
private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing
advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC's
vision is that people should have the opportunity to escape poverty and
improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized
an additional $3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance
for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory
services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.