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Beyond Transparency Investigating The New Extractive Industry Disclosures

Originally posted on Oxfam’s website

In 2016, French companies extracting natural resources in developing countries made their payments to the governments of these countries public for the first time, detailing the payments for each of their projects. This is a significant step forward in terms of transparency in a notoriously opaque sector.

Nevertheless, while the stated objective of these measures is to facilitate public understanding and monitoring of the activities of companies exploiting natural resources, this report reveals various limitations, such as regarding access to the new data, which remains complicated, particularly for non-specialists. Lack of contextual data surrounding the disclosure of payments makes understanding the data even more difficult. Furthermore, loopholes in the Directives and their transposition into French law also limit possibilities of studying and comparing the different payments.

However, the disclosure of payments to governments shows that the governance of the sector is improving. This report demonstrates how the disclosure of this new information helped inform analysis of the activities of the French oil company Total in Angola and the French uranium giant Areva in Niger.

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