Global Rights, ISODEC to fight against inequalities in the management of natural resources

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The issue of gender inequality in the management of natural resources in the ECOWAS region will be highlighted during a high-level political conference organized by Global Rights in partnership with the Center for Integrated Social Development (ISODEC) .

The four-day conference, scheduled for August 16-20, 2022, will address the role of natural resource management in reducing growing economic and social inequalities in the Economic Community of West African States region ( ECOWAS).

The conference, scheduled for August 16-20, 2022 in Accra, Ghana, will attract participants from five ECOWAS countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Senegal, and will be themed “Inequalities and management of natural resources in ECOWAS”. Region.’

Addressing a pre-conference meeting with stakeholders in Abuja on Thursday, Global Rights executive director Abiodun Baiyewu said the mismanagement of oil, gas and solid mineral resources over the years has led to a huge gap between rich and poor in the ECOWAS region. .
Using Nigeria as a benchmark, Baiyewu said while the five richest Nigerians are worth $30 billion, millions of Nigerians are struggling to live above $1 a day.
She said that “the amount of money the richest man can earn each year in Nigeria is enough to lift at least two million people out of poverty in Nigeria. While women constitute about 50% of our population, 79% of Nigerian women are poor, extremely poor and of this number 94% are illiterate”.
She noted that this was happening in a country which is one of the richest in natural resources in the world, adding that between 1960 and today an estimated $30 trillion has been stolen from the Nigerian treasury by government officials. and their collaborators.
Speaking earlier, the Co-Chair of the meeting and Head of Communications and Advocacy of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Obiageli Onuorah, pointed out that proper management of Nigeria’s natural resources will lead to a reduction in poverty and corruption.
She explained that studies conducted by NEITI have shown that communities hosting oil and solid minerals are the least beneficiaries of resource revenues.
Another co-chair of the pre-conference meeting, Tengi George-Ikoli of the Natural Resource Governance Institute said that for a country that is so dependent on natural resources for its revenue, Nigeria has completely mismanaged its revenue from the sector.
She noted that the coming years will be even more difficult for the country with the expected drop in demand for hydrocarbons due to the energy transition.
Onuorah and George-Ikoli were of the view that the country has a lot of work to do to close the gap between rich and poor in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Executive Director of the Center for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), Faith Nwadishi, said Nigerian leaders must ensure that the country’s resources work for all Nigerians rather than a few individuals.
The conference organizers, Global Rights and ISODEC, noted that “Wealth and income inequality in West Africa is staggering. West Africa is home to three of the ten richest countries in Africa. In 2017, the wealth held by individuals in West Africa’s richest economy, Nigeria, exceeded $250 billion. The individual wealth held by the second largest economy in the sub-region, Ghana, exceeds $60 billion. Much of this wealth comes from natural resources. The inequalities in the distribution of this wealth are glaring.
A development consultant, Charles Abugre, said the conference would determine the impact of natural resource governance on government policies aimed at reducing inequalities in the sector.
Among other things, he said, the conference will address lessons learned from the struggles of communities and women in the field of natural resource governance and strategies to strengthen government leadership in the sector.
Conference director Atieno Ndomo said the aim of the event was to highlight policy pathways for achieving SDG 10 through better management of natural resources.
The outcome of the conference, she said, was to prepare a technical paper, highlighting policy options for equitable development through transformed natural resource management.

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