Join the Discussion: Next Week’s US-Africa Summit

August 1st, 2014

obamaMonday marks the start of the US-Africa Summit, a three-day event hosted by President Obama that will bring 50 African heads of state together in Washington. While there will be ample opportunities for government officials to interact, it’s vital that civil society organizations (CSO) are heard, as well. On Monday, in addition to a CSO event held at the State Department, Open Society Foundations, in partnership with a number of other CSOs, will be hosting an afternoon event to explore how financial transparency and good governance are vital to helping finance future development.

The event, Resources for the Future: Partnering with Civil Society for Transparency and Accountability in Africa, will be held at The Willard Hotel from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event will serve as a forum to bring leaders of civil society and government together to explore how responsible resource revenue can help fund the development future. Speakers and panelists include George Soros, Founder of Open Society Foundations, Joseph Nyumah Boakai, the Vice President of Liberia, and Ali Idrissa, the National Coordinator of Publiez Ce Que Vous Payez (Publish What You Pay) Niger.

On the event:

This event alongside the U.S.–Africa Leaders Summit will offer a platform for representatives from civil society, the private sector, and governments to share experiences on efforts to improve natural resource governance, including fiscal and financial transparency.

The panel will feature keynote remarks and an interactive discussion of four representatives on topics including: civil society and citizen participation; open contracting and open companies; revenue and budget transparency; trade mis-invoicing; and the potential of existing African governance mechanisms.

While the event is full, you can still follow the discussion online via a live webcast. You can also follow us @FinTrCo; we’ll be live tweeting the event.

Ahead of next week’s events, Publish What You Pay, an extractive industry transparency group and co-sponsor of Monday’s CSO event, released an open letter to President Obama highlighting the importance of an open and transparent extractive industry.

From the letter:

We are not asking for your charity – we are asking for a level playing field. We see the US – Africa Leaders’ Summit as a crucial opportunity for all parties to make concrete commitments to enhancing extractive governance. We are calling on our governments to commit to an open and transparent bidding process for the allocation of extractive contracts and licenses, including the publication of contracts. We are calling on our governments to commit to creating open budgeting processes, so that we can ensure extractive revenues are responsibly spent. We also ask them to include beneficial ownership declaration forms in procurement and contracts.

The US once led on the issue of extractive transparency, we ask you to reclaim that mantle and commit to working with other G7/G20 countries to adopt and implement measures similar to Dodd-Frank 1504 and the EU Transparency & Accounting Directives.

You can view a PDF schedule for the week here.

Image used under White House Copyright Policy / Original Image

Written by Christian Freymeyer

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