Togolese Mines and Energy Minister, Mr. Dammipi Noupokou, has called on West African countries to step up the implementation of the 2009 ECOWAS Directive on Harmonization of Principles and Policy in the Mineral Sector, especially by improving the conditions of life of solid mineral, oil and gas host communities.
Opening a five-day regional experts’ workshop on the review of Regional Mineral Resources Development Programme Implementation, in Lome, Togo on Monday, 26th March 2011, the Minister noted that populations in the region’s mineral exploitation zones or “high-risk localities,” were going through difficulties and that it behoved the governments concerned to improve the living conditions and quality of life of the people.
Mr. Noupokou reminded the experts that the workshop is the first meeting being held in Lome, following the adoption of the ECOWAS Directive and also the first after the adoption of the ECOWAS Mineral Resources Development Policy by regional leaders in January 2012 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Minister noted that the willingness by ECOWAS to support Member States in the harmonization of various policy texts on activities in the mineral sector will facilitate the effective implementation of regional Directive and Policy.
While reaffirming Togo’s adherence to the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Minister outlined the measures undertaken by the government in this regard, including the introduction of a legal text on various rural development projects
especially to improve the environment and for the benefit of mineral host communities.
Mr. Noupokou expressed Togo’s gratitude to ECOWAS for authorizing the Lome meeting to launch the regional campaign on “The African Mining Vision and Regional Policy Development,” of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
In his address earlier, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs, Industry, Mines and Free Movement, Mr. Hamid Ahmed, recalled that Article 31 of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty urges Member States to harmonize and coordinate their mineral resources policies and programmes to ensure a coherent development of the sector.
Pursuant to this objective, Mr. Ahmed, who was represented by the Director for Industry and Mines, Mr. Mensan Lawson-Hechelli, noted that this informed the push for a regional strategy which began in 2008 for the development of a harmonized policy in the sector, leading to the adoption of the 2009 Directive by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and the Mineral Resources Development policy.
He outlined the stages toward the realization of this goal to include the implementation of strategic activities by the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with Member States, partners and other stakeholders for a coherent policy to improve local environments and development of the mineral sector.
The workshop being attended by focal persons in Member States and other experts precedes a three-day meeting, which opens also in Lome on Wednesday, 27th March 2012 on the West African Industrial Policy (WACIP), including a ministerial session on Friday.
Source: Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) – Press Release – 28 March 2012