‘Oil Discovery Hasn’t Benefitted Africans’

Participants and resource persons in a group photograph

Fresh discovery of oil and gas constitute a source of optimism on the continent but such development has not automatically resulted in economic opportunities for poor Africans nor translated into sustainable development for them, Leah Chatta Chipepa, Executive Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), a civil society organisation based in Uganda, has disclosed.

She made the disclosure at the opening of a 5-day workshop yesterday for female activists in the oil and gas sector in collaboration with the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI).

Even though there are over 20 oil producing countries on the continent, what we are witnessing in most countries in the sector is mismanagement, limited policies and absence of strong oversight institutions that are resulting in some areas in the erosion of democratic accountability and political corruption, with far-reaching negative implications for citizens, especially poor women and the environment,’ she said.

‘How is the pivotal role of women as custodians of the natural environment reflected in institutional arrangements for the management of resources?’ she quizzed.

‘It is sad indeed that while most women depend on land as a resource to produce food and energy and for income, there is a deficit of women’s rights and control over resources and their rights of access are not secured.

Calling for the setting up of collaborative structures between men and women, she said the move will facilitate the realization of successful oil and gas outcomes.

Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Executive Director of Wassa Association of Cities Affected By Mining (WACAM), in a speech, called for concerted effort by women’s groups to demand accountability from politicians on the oil and gas resources in their countries and ensure that the proceeds benefit the poor and vulnerable in their countries.

By Samuel Boadi

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