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At IFC Workshop, Key Stakeholders in Africa’s Extractive Industries Agree that Collaboration is Critical to Successful Community Development


In Washington, D.C.:
Hannfried von Hindenburg
Phone: +1 (202) 458-5613

E-mail:  
hvonhindenburg@ifc.org


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 programs.”


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.


About IFC

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.