- Switzerland supports reforms in Extractive Industry in Ghana
Ghana, a country rich in natural resources, joined the Global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2003 in an effort to uphold good governance in the extractives sector. Subsequently, the country joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2011 to make government more open, accountable and responsive to citizens.
EITI is a multi-stakeholder effort comprising government agencies, civil society actors and extractive companies. Implementation of the EITI in Ghana has largely promoted accountability in the extractive sector. Of this, the Ministry of Finance has been a driving force of the EITI process here in Ghana.
Accordingly, the national-level Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) has produced annual reconciliation reports covering fiscal payments by extractive companies to government for the mining sector since 2004, and for the oil and gas sector since 2011.
The government of Ghana through the GHEITI – with support from Development Partners that include the government of Switzerland through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) – has so far produced 16 EITI reports in the mining sector and nine reports for the oil and gas sector.
The recommendations of these EITI reports have informed policy direction and decision-making in the legislative, fiscal and institutional dimensions of the mining, oil and gas sectors.
The EITI seeks to create that missing transparency and accountability in revenue flows from the extractive industry. In effect, this has allowed for public scrutiny of revenues from the extractives sectors of the economy.
At the launch of the 2019 GHEITI report, the Swiss Ambassador Philip Stalder said: “Switzerland has co-financed the EITI reports and my country, for many years, supported the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to improve governance of the extractive sector globally. This is based on our conviction that the benefits of natural resources, such as oil, gas and minerals, belong to the people and not to the government of a country”.
The EITI mechanism aims at strengthening public debate, ownership and seeks to enhance trust among the various stakeholders.
“Overall, the EITI process has evolved positively. What is interesting to underline is the crucial shift in how the standard allows countries and companies to systematically disclose information through their own system. New ground was broken with disclosure requirements on environmental, social and gender impacts,” he said.
Ghana-Swiss Cooperation Programme
With the 2021–2024 Cooperation Programme, SECO is supporting Ghana on its path toward a resilient, self-dependent future. SECO’s main goal is to contribute to a resilient and self-dependent Ghana.
In line with the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Switzerland’s new International Cooperation Strategy 2021–2024, SECO focuses its efforts on promoting economic development. In Ghana, SECO’s thematic priority areas concentrate on promoting attractive framework conditions for sustainable growth and the unlocking of more and better jobs and decent income opportunities. Gender equality and climate change mitigation, adaptation and resource efficiency are transversal topics to both thematic priorities.
Considering the lessons learned and building on the results achieved in the 2017–2020 cycle, the Cooperation Programme 2021–2024 defines the strategic framework for the future activities of SECO over the next four years.
Measures under the thematic priority 1 include: 1) transparent an efficient public finance; 2) further decentralisation of public services; 3) introduction of a rules-based trade system and innovation-friendly business environment; and 4) reliable access to sustainable energy. Measures under the thematic priority 2 include: 1) the development of market-oriented skills; 2) innovative financial sector promoting access to finance; and 3) the promotion of a competitive, responsible and innovative business environment.
SECO’s development cooperation will also examine bridging activities within the context of the bilateral cooperation between Switzerland and Ghana for bilateral emission abatement measures. Ghana and Switzerland have in fact signed an agreement in relation with Art. 6 of the UNCCC Paris Agreement for the compensation of emission reductions.
The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced in March 2022, a US$42million pay-for-results collaboration to unlock the development benefits of private climate investments in developing countries while supporting Switzerland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by its government operations.
Beyond emissions reductions, climate mitigation projects can directly or indirectly yield many development benefits – including job creation, access to energy, support to livelihoods and food security, gender empowerment and more.
This new agreement – the first of its kind for UNDP – will be active from 2022 until 2031, and aims to boost the development benefits associated with climate mitigation projects. Initially, it will support energy access through solar power in Vanuatu and climate-smart agriculture in Ghana, with the possibility of supporting additional projects and countries.