The Reality of the EITI in Zambia

Khadija Sharife explains that, although the goal of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) was originally to eliminate corruption by demanding more transparency over relations between mining companies and governments, the reality is that corporate corruption is constantly on the rise.

The logic goes that, so long as there is disclosure of cash payments within national boundaries, transparency will act as a natural sanction – diminishing the potential for, and realisation of, corruption. It is a logic that appears to bank on political or “demand-side” corruption, chiefly innate to the developing country’s character – with corporations simply “going along” with the system – a kind of “when in Rome” response.
But the EITI theory is vastly different from the reality and has more to do with corporate and “first world” country supply-side corruption. Zambia’s first report, for instance, revealed that mining companies remitted $463 million in payments to the government in 2008. The EITI report claims “significant discrepencies” noting a net total of “unresolved discrepencies” of $66 million.

Read more here

Nkana mine Open Pit and Head Gear. Photo by Per Arne Wilson

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