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So overwhelming and undeniable is the importance of energy to quality of life that any agenda intent upon advancing human development and dignity must place universal and equitable access to modern energy services at its center.... Rather than limiting energy access and consumption, a coherent strategy for human development begins with the assumption that energy equity is necessary for a just, prosperous, and environmentally sustainable society. By building out the worldwide energy system in support of human dignity and widely shared prosperity, we create fertile conditions for the innovations that will generate progressively lower-carbon developmental pathways…. A high energy planet with universal access to affordable, cleaner, and plentiful energy, we argue, is the most practical way to secure socioeconomic development while ensuring environmental protection.
The US Department of the Interior announced last week that the United States would no longer seek to comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international multi-stakeholder organization that aims to increase revenue transparency and accountability in natural resource extraction. The move—while disappointing—is not altogether unexpected. And sadly, it will put the United States further behind the curve when it comes to corporate transparency.
If transparency in debates around matters of natural resource wealth, then so too does the way that figures get translated into public debates. Earlier this month the Lusaka Times published a claim that multinational mining companies were “robbing Zambia of an estimated $3billion annually through tax evasion and illicit financial flows.” I have written about the Zambia Copper Billions before. I don’t think the figure is at all credible, and I am not the only one. Organisations that have allowed this myth to spread have not done any favours to the people of Zambia, and they have a responsibility to put it right.
In May, President Magufuli of Tanzania appointed two special committees to investigate the contents of 277 containers stuck at Dar-es-Salaam. The committees' belief that they have uncovered a case of massive misinvoicing (i.e., misrepresentation of the value or quantity of exports) does not seem plausible for five reasons. For starters, the scale of mineral smuggling required for it to be true is implausible.