The Government of Zambia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (ZEITI) and Open Ownership to take part in the Opening Extractives Programme.
Opening Extractives is an ambitious global programme aiming to transform the availability and use of beneficial ownership data for effective governance in the extractive sector. Anonymous companies remain the major obstacle in the fight against money laundering and corruption. Access to quality beneficial ownership data strengthens accountability by improving the governance of energy and mining revenues, supporting business and curtailing corruption and illicit financial flows. Opening Extractives is delivered jointly by the EITI and Open Ownership.
The MoU provides a framework for the support Zambia will receive through the programme. Key stakeholders in Zambia include the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) and the Mining Cadastre. Opening Extractives will support these agencies to improve the quality, reliability and use of beneficial ownership data, and in the case of PACRA, to strengthen implementation of Zambia’s Companies Act which has provided for a cross-sector beneficial ownership register since 2018.
Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development, Mr Moses Nyirenda said, “As a champion of beneficial ownership transparency in the mining sector, we welcome the signing of this MoU and Zambia’s participation in Opening Extractives. The Ministry of Mines will benefit immensely from the technical support given throughout the programme.”
Opening Extractives will provide sustained, multi-year support to Zambia to disclose the ownership of extractive companies. It will catalyse the use of this data to improve natural resource governance.
Activities under Opening Extractives in Zambia will combine political and technical engagement to support:
- Technical assistance for enhanced beneficial ownership data collection and disclosures;
- Collaborative database design and innovation to support PACRA and the Mining Cadastre in enabling integration within mining license processes.
- A scoping study comprehensively assessing beneficial ownership implementation in Zambia based on the Open Ownership principles.
Findings and evidence from the programme, including best practice case studies from Zambia, will be communicated globally. This will provide greater access to the tools and knowledge required to drive impact beyond the focus countries.
Open Ownership Executive Director, Thom Townsend said, “By participating in Opening Extractives, Zambia will be enabled to meet the EITI standard and other domestic and global standards for beneficial ownership implementation. The country will also be supported to publish high-quality, usable beneficial ownership data that meets the country’s policy aims and objectives, through the technical assistance Open Ownership will provide.”
Head of EITI Zambia and EITI International Board Member, Ian Mwiinga, welcomed the signing, noting that, “Zambia joined the EITI in 2009 to maximise the revenue the state receives from the extractives sector, and improve transparency and accountability. The Opening Extractives Programme will support Zambia to achieve these aims through improved beneficial ownership transparency and data use.”
The signing of the MoU is a significant step leading to the national launch of the programme which will take place in Lusaka, Zambia on 10 December. At this launch event, government representatives, civil society and companies are expected to affirm that the programme will be an ongoing part of the transparency reforms in the extractive sector.
Zambia has made good progress to date on beneficial ownership disclosure. In November 2017, the Government of Zambia amended the Companies legislation to include beneficial ownership disclosure. The Companies Act No. 10 of 2017 provides for the disclosure of beneficial owners and for the creation of a register of beneficial owners, at PACRA.
Zambia was the first country to confirm its participation in Opening Extractives, a signal of the government’s commitment to improving beneficial ownership transparency. Zambia joins ten other countries that have confirmed their participation, including Armenia, Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal.