By Juliet Ukanwosu
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Board has approved Angola’s application to join the EITI, making it the EITI’s 57th member country and the 28th in Africa.
Following this approval, Angola’s first disclosures in line with the EITI Standards will need to be made within 18 months of being admitted as an EITI implementing country.
Welcoming Angola to the EITI community, EITI Board Chair, Helen Clark, said: “Angola joins the EITI at a critical juncture. The COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing oil price volatility and concerns over energy security mean that governance and transparency need to be at the heart of the country’s energy policies. Angola has an opportunity to use EITI implementation to reinforce its anti-corruption efforts, strengthen the reform of Sonangol, and ensure that the extractive sector contributes to domestic resource mobilisation. We look forward to the EITI promoting inclusive public debate on these issues.”
According to a statement on the EITI website, opacity in Angola’s oil sector led to the formation of EITI in 2003, when calls from civil society advocates to address corruption issues attracted considerable attention.
Subsequently, a group of civil society, industry and government representatives – led by the UK government – agreed that a global reporting standard should be developed. However, corruption risks and governance challenges have persisted in Angola over the years, and there have been repeated calls for the country to implement the EITI Standard.
Reporting in line with the EITI Standard will help ensure that crucial information on Angola’s extractive sector will be made public, including beneficial owners and contracts pertaining to extractive companies, as well as the management of state-owned enterprises and sector revenues. Disclosures required under the EITI implementation can contribute to identifying corruption risks, weaknesses in administration and areas of revenue leakages. Ultimately, this information can support decision-making and reforms and promote public debate in Angola.
“As the second largest oil producing country in Africa, Angola’s economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas production, which accounts for about a third of the country’s GDP. In 2020, oil accounted for about 90% – or USD 18 billion – of the country’s total export earnings. The country also has a significant mining sector with diamond exports totalling over USD 1 billion in 2020,” the EITI noted.
Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas, Diamantino Azevedo, said “Angola took the decision to join the EITI after serious consideration by President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço in alignment with the administration’s focus on anti-corruption.
“Implementing the EITI will support government objectives to strengthen transparency and will ensure government assumes political will to strengthen the national instruments of good governance. With this step, the country intends to continuously improve the business environment and investment climate. This will contribute to mobilisation of revenues and a direct positive impact on Angolans. Angola’s accession to the EITI means the beginning of a new era for the country,” he added.
Sebastião Gaspar Martins, Chief Executive Officer of Sonangol, stated that Sonangol, as the flagship oil company in Angola is pleased with the country’s admission as a member of the EITI.
“This milestone reinforced Angola’s commitment, also assumed by Sonangol, to responsibly manage its natural resources for the country’s development and for the benefit of Angolans, with guidance from international best practice,” Martins stated.