From Isaac AIDOO, Accra, Ghana
INDEPENDENT nonprofit organization, the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), has engaged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media on the future of resource taxation, advocacy strategies towards the energy transition and domestic resource mobilisation in Africa.
Knowing that CSOs play an important role in the energy transition in their countries, NRGI organized capacity enhancing sessions for CSOs and media as a side event at the Future of Resource Taxation conference held recently in Lusaka, Zambia.
The session brought participants from several African countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda, Tunisia, and Niger. According to NRGI, the purpose of the capacity-enhancing session was to assess the impact of the energy transition on domestic revenue mobilization in these countries and co-create strategies to engage national governments.
It was led by three NRGI staff – Dr. Alex Ampaabeng, Senior Economic Analyst, Matteo Molineris, Capacity Development Officer, and William Davis, Senior Economic Analyst
Dr Alex Ampaabeng explained, “we put participants into two groups – those from mineral-rich countries such as Zambia, Niger, and Tunisia and those rich in oil, which includes Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda.”
By bringing together different CSOs from different countries across the continent, “NRGI seeks to support the building of a strong network of key CSOs across Africa for lesson sharing and collaborative working, particularly on issues of energy transition and domestic resource mobilisation.”
The CSOs were, Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and The Finder (media) from Ghana, Tunisia Energy Society, the Center for Social Development, ROTAB —PWYP, Niger, Tax Justice Netowk Africa, SEATINI, Uganda and Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative.
After the benefit of the discussions at the conference on the future of resource taxation, participants (in group one) were tasked to design both immediate and future (20 years away) policy proposals to their governments to ensure an adequate and reliable revenue stream, to avoid budgetary shortages among other fiscal challenges.
To ensure the policy proposals or options are effective and achieve desired results, group two participants were tasked to design advocacy strategies that could enhance domestic resource mobilization.
The participants were excited by the idea that by the end of the session, they had identified areas of collaboration among themselves.
Dr Ampaabeng noted that “this is not a one-off event, but a relationship-building, and networking exercises that will get bigger and stronger for impactful advocacy on issues that matter to these organizations and their countries.”
The Institute’s work is centered around ensuring that countries rich in oil, gas, and minerals achieve sustainable and inclusive development and that people receive lasting benefits from their natural resources.
Delivering a just and sustainable energy system for the future in Africa will require collaboration and action from across the energy, business, and government ecosystems. Civil society organizations will play a pivotal role in the process by monitoring governments’ actions and commitments to ensure that the energy transition targets set by governments in their respective countries stay on track.
Also, as the world turns to greener and more renewable energy options, demand for fossil fuels, particularly oil, will begin to decrease soon. This will have a significant impact on national revenues for countries rich in oil.
According to Dr Ampaabeng, “this will have implications for allocations to critical sectors such as Education, Agriculture, and Healthcare, which could subsequently worsen poverty and inequality levels.
“In the same way, with the transition comes an opportunity for countries rich in the ‘transition minerals’ such as cobalt, nickel, copper, lithium, graphite, etc., to generate more revenue as demand is projected to rise considerably soon,” he added.