Recently, the Crest Newspaper joined an expert roundtable discourse in far away Senegal, a West African Country, to contribute to the ongoing discussion about preventing conflict which is prevalent in the oil, gas and solid mineral rich communities in the West African region.
The event which took place between November 27th to November 28th 2023 at Goree Institute, Dakar – Senegal, had as its theme: “Responsible and Inclusive Management of Extractive Resources for Conflict Prevention.”
According to the Executive Director of the Institute, Mr. Doudou Dia, the round table discussion is in continuation of their pursuit in the research Project: “Towards a West African citizen synergy for transparency and equity in the management and redistribution of extractive industry resources.”
He added that some participants drawn from Francophone and Anglophone countries in the West African region comprising Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Senegal, have been part of the previous discussion on the research project which was tagged: “Mechanisms for the prevention and management of natural resource conflicts in West Africa”.
He noted that the project hopes to come up with a properly researched model which will be adopted in the West African Region with respect to the specific realities of these countries.
The Executive Director disclosed that soon a book will be released which will encapsulate the series of researches and engagements towards the project.
Through the five sessions with specific topics to address the focus of the roundtable discussion, various panelists did justice to proffering solutions to the challenge of ‘Resource Curse’.
The Special Projects Editor of the Crest Newspaper – Nigeria, Enwono-Abasi Elisha, anchored one of the sessions with the topic, “Strengthening collaboration between international initiatives to better address issues related to extractive resources.” The two panelist of that session were, Ms Ajeole Enemarie Grace of Global Rights – Nigeria and Mr. Thialy Faye, the Economic Justice Program Manager Oxfam – Senegal. They dissected the various laws, regulations and initiatives in the region to address conflict provocative issues in Nigeria and other West African countries.
The first session had Mr. Demba Fall Diouf, a representative of communities impacted by the extractive sector, Senegal as anchor. The session was tagged ‘Transparency and Accountability in the management of extractive resources’. The second session was anchored by Dr. Ousmane Balde, a researcher in land law at University of Sine Saloum – Senegal who led the panelists to reveal the nitty-gritty of the topic, ‘Integrating climate change issues into the analysis of the environmental impact of mining and petroleum operations’.
Also, Ms Cecilia Christiana Miatta of National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives (NACE) – Sierra Leone led other panelists on a session exploring ‘Conflicts linked to extractive resources: causes, consequences and resolution mechanism.’
Session four, anchored by Mr. Solomon Kusi Ampofo from Friend of the Nation – Ghana, discussed the topic, ‘Strengthening gender mainstreaming in the responsible and inclusive management of extractive resources for conflict prevention’.
The organisers, the Goree Institute, an international centre for the promotion of democracy, development and culture in Africa says they will continue advocacy for peaceful and self-sufficient societies in Africa.