Transparency can alleviate poverty
Author: George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management & founder, Open Society Institute, in Financial Times, Published on: 17 March 2005
Countries that are rich in natural resources are often poor because exploiting those resources takes precedence over good government...Lifting this resource curse could make a large contribution to alleviating poverty and misery in the world...The first step is transparency; the second is accountability...International extractive companies are starting to acknowledge the value and necessity of greater transparency. BP has agreed to disclose disaggregated payment information on its operations in Azerbaijan, and Royal Dutch/Shell is doing the same in Nigeria. ChevronTexaco recently negotiated an agreement with Nigeria and Sao Tomé and Principe that requires publication of company payments in the joint production zone. Investors...have endorsed EITI [Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative]...But the most encouraging sign comes from the producing countries themselves...This week's summit is an opportunity to define more precisely what it means to implement the EITI by establishing some basic minimum requirements for host countries.