CBA's SIRD project helps drive Uganda's landmark accession to the EITI Community

  • September 03, 2020

Uganda has joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a multi-stakeholder initiative that among other things, sets disclosure standards for the good governance of mining, oil and drilling projects.

For the last two years, CBA has been working with its SIRD project implementing partner, the Uganda Law Society (ULS), to expedite the application process that has led to this historic event. The CBA's Director of International Initiatives and Project Director for the SIRD project, Jennifer Johnson, considers this a big win for the international effort that helped make this day a reality. "This is a profound outcome for the Ugandan people, with particular benefits for the project affected populations in SIRD's pilot area," she says. "The government has demonstrated its commitment to be held accountable in 'big money' contracts with foreign mining companies, and with EITI structures in place, civil society and the community are empowered to help minimize the risk that extractive revenues will be mismanaged[OA1]". 

As the 54th member to join the initiative worldwide, and the 26th in Africa, Uganda's government will now have to publicly disclose information such as contracts in the extractive sector, the identity of beneficial owners and the revenues and payments from extractive resources.

Enhancing public oversight through increased transparency has long been a strategic goal of Uganda's robust assemblage of civil society actors. It will also make Uganda a more attractive destination for global investors, while ensuring that more of the benefits of resource extraction reach the most vulnerable citizens, particularly women. Empowering women is why Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has lent its support to CBA's SIRD project. Since 2017, CBA has worked in partnership with four law societies in East Africa as part of the GAC-funded SIRD initiative to increase sustainable economic growth for East Africans. The initiative focuses primarily on women disproportionately burdened by extractive sector operations.

With restrictions on international travel due to COVID, the project has quickly pivoted to providing more Canadian technical assistance to partner law societies through a mix of virtual and smaller in-person sessions. Participating CBA volunteer legal experts help their counterparts in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania develop policy recommendations for extractive sector law reform. CBA volunteer legal experts have advised partners in East Africa on a host of draft legislation, including on land acquisition and compensation, community benefit agreements, sexual offences, and succession.

Ayokunle Ogundipe is Project Manager for CBA International Initiatives.