Togolese Mines and Energy Minister 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, 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 ECOWAS’ willingness to support Member States in the harmonization of various policy texts on activities in the mineral sector will facilitate the effective implementation of the 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).
Speaking 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, said 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 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, which is being attended by Focal Persons in Member States and other experts precedes, a three-day meeting, scheduled to start Wednesday, on the West African Industrial Policy (WACIP), including a ministerial session on Friday.