TEXT: H.E. Mr. Khadim Diop, Minister for African Integration, NEPAD and the Promotion of Good Governance
Good governance is both a means and an end to a socio-economic development, which is both sustainable and inclusive. It is even a must. If, despite its uncountable natural resources, Africa has been unable to develop, it is partly because of poor resource governance. West Africa is no exception to this. However, considerable efforts are being taken at ECOWAS level, and nationally, to improve this.
For example, in 2003, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) adopted a mining code. In 2009, ECOWAS adopted the mining directive, covering harmonization of mining sector guidelines and policies in its Member States, and which is the first step towards the establishment of a Community mining code.
If, despite its uncountable natural resources, Africa has been unable to develop, it is partly because of poor resource governance.
In Senegal, we have also initiated the revision of the 1988 mining code to take account of profound changes in the socio-economic and environmental context. I must, however, emphasise that civil society has to be at the heart of this change. An effort to harmonize standards is necessary so that the fundamental interests of our states and populations are better preserved. Only at this price can we avoid the recurring tensions that often accompany mining and that threaten peace and security in such zones, rather than making them more prosperous in a harmonious way.
In addition, our member states should strengthen their capabilities for contract negotiation with multinationals, especially in the highly complex area of extractive industries. This is the meaning of the advocacy by President Macky Sall of fairer Tax and Social Justice clauses in mining and oil contracts, which he made as part of his mandate as head of the Steering Committee of Heads of State and Government of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development). This plea was favourably received by the G7 which launched the CONNEX initiative to improve the advice available to developing countries engaged in complex contract negotiations, particularly in the extractive industry.
More generally, our member states must place Human Security at the centre of their action, by strict observance of democratic rules, the Rule of Law and human rights.
Senegal, an example to follow
In Senegal, we are fortunate to have a leader, in the person of President Macky Sall, who made good governance a priority, who gives the necessary means and momentum needed to make it part our daily lives, and for whom my Department works.
Since colonial times, in regard to four communes, Dakar, Gorée, St. Louis and Rufisque, Senegal has had a decentralization policy aimed at empowering people in the management of local affairs. In 1972, Senegal began widespread decentralization and, in 1996, a major reform allowed the conversion of decentralized communities into regions, and the transfer of nine areas of competencies to the three local government areas (regions, municipalities, and rural districts). In this process, the State recognized the role of citizens and civil society in Senegal and put significant training programs in place to support their participation and control on public action.
Unfortunately, these programs have had limited results, since only a few local authorities implemented them and acted only while the program lasted. The resources of local authorities are also limited due to limited availability of local resources and insufficient state transfers.
But the Civil Forum initiative was well received by all players and my Department, through a participatory and interactive process, is levering all these initiatives in order to institutionalize a mechanism for participation and citizen control that will be applicable in all the local authorities.
The challenges of decentralization in terms of good governance are significant.
The challenges of decentralization in terms of good governance are significant. That is why, since he took up the highest office in 2012, President Macky Sall has undertaken a comprehensive reform of decentralization with Act 3, which aims to build capacity in the local government areas and to better structure development actions through economically viable territories. Our central concerns are promoting transparency in the management of local affairs, citizen participation and accountability. Act 3 is part of a package of reforms that have enabled Senegal to improve its performance in terms of good governance, and its ranking on international ranking tables, for example, the Mo Ibrahim Index where it is placed ninth.
To accomplish this, the good governance promotion program implemented by my Department is structured around a national strategy aimed at, inter alia, strengthening the Rule of Law and democracy, transparency, the rational use of public resources, adhering to budgetary and financial procedures, the fight against corruption, the promotion of results-based management and governance education for behaviour change.