Enhanced Oversight of the Extractives Industry in Francophone Africa
Enhanced Oversight of the Extractives Industry in Francophone Africa
A six-year Pan-African initiative that leverages a triangular cooperation approach to enhance public accountability and transparency in the extractive sector


Despite falling prices of commodities, many African countries continue to record yearly growth in the extractive sector, and extractives remain one of the main sources of economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, this growth has not always led to alleviating poverty or improving service delivery. The lack of effective oversight mechanisms across the sector emerges as the most significant explanation for this situation. Improved oversight is therefore critical and can be achieved with oversight bodies, such as technical inspectorates of Ministries of Natural Resources, civil society organizations and supreme audit institutions. Although the latter are a key oversight body for government expenditures and the use of public resources, these institutions often lack sufficient capacity to fulfil this important mandate and, therefore, require tailored support.

Towards a Solution

To address this challenge, Canada-based Cowater International is implementing a project entitled ‘Enhanced Oversight of the Extractives Industry in Francophone Africa’, in partnership with the Conseil Régional de Formation des Institutions Supérieures de Contrôle des Finances Publiques de l’Afrique Francophone Subsaharienne [Regional Council of the Supreme Audit Institutions of French-Speaking Sub-Saharan Africa] (CREFIAF), based in Cameroon, and with financial support from Global Affairs Canada. The project aims to achieve greater transparency and accountability of government activities in the extractive sector by improving monitoring nationwide in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali and other Francophone sub-Saharan countries. The project’s activities provide an effective way to address Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, particularly target 16.6 on developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels; target 16.7 on ensuring responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels; and target 16.8 on broadening and strengthening the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance. The project’s triangular approach also contributes to achieving SDG 17, as it strengthens implementation through a more inclusive and dynamic partnership.

As a pivotal partner in triangular cooperation, CREFIAF supports coordination with participating supreme audit institutions through its professional network of experts, which provide auditing services in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa. Leveraging this network, Cowater International assembled a multifaceted team of international, regional and local experts in fields such as mining, law, taxation, auditing, gender equality, the environment and revenue generation. These experts support the project in:

  • Developing regional and country-specific training curricula, guidelines for performing audits of extractive industries and other technical resources aligned with international best practices, including tools focused on gender and the environment.
  • Conducting pilot audits of extractive industries in target countries to test guidelines and technical resources.
  • Delivering training on extractive industry audits and on-the-job coaching to supreme audit institutions and other national oversight bodies.
  • Developing guidelines and processes to engage stakeholders in auditing, including citizens, women’s groups, civil society organizations and the media.

The project continues to make improvements in:

  • National oversight of extractive industries in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Madagascar and Mali
  • Regional support provided by CREFIAF to oversee extractive industries in its 23 member countries in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa
  • The role of CREFIAF as an important resource centre for oversight
  • Stakeholders’ capacity to oversee their respective extractive industries

Targeted supreme audit institutions participating in the project will be able to assume their role in monitoring extractive industries by:

  • Using extractive industry audit tools effectively
  • Implementing specialized training programmes
  • Having specialized auditors and trainers
  • Exchanging experiences and lessons learned among stakeholders in each country

This has led to several innovative and sustainable outcomes in support of the SDGs. Greater transparency was achieved through relationship-building and the coordinated efforts required for triangular cooperation. The project underscored that oversight of extractive industries is a shared responsibility. Participants, therefore, play an active role in oversight and benefit directly from the support and expertise provided by the project. The security challenges in Mali and Burkina Faso prevented Canadian experts from traveling to the area. As a result, Cowater International identified local and regional experts who had experience working in areas with ongoing security threats. This pool will be accessible to all CREFIAF member States that need to hire such experts in the future. Furthermore, the project demonstrated that civil society organizations can assist Governments in achieving more positive results by informing policy work.

From the project’s inception and throughout its implementation, the project team has consistently coordinated and consulted with beneficiaries and stakeholders. It has also participated actively in regional working groups, such as the Working Group on Audit of Extractive Industries in Uganda. Cooperation has been guided by feedback from formal consultations and informal discussions.

CREFIAF-designated trainers from the supreme audit institutions of several member States have been instrumental in drafting specialized audit guides under the tutelage of international and regional experts in auditing and extractives. These trainers will continue to lead trainings for auditors and other stakeholders in the use of the materials and tools developed under this project.

The project has been structured around establishing the foundation required for improved oversight of the extractives sector. The training materials and principles are based on international audit standards and best practices in extractive sector management. There are no prerequisites for a country to benefit from this material, and the team adapts its approach to the existing knowledge and capacities of each country. The training covers an introduction to the extractives sector, the fundamentals of auditing and the intersectionality of both disciplines. It addresses challenges in all areas, including financing, gender and the environment.

Contact Information

Name: Mr Michael Bitz Title: Project Director, Projet d’Amélioration de la Surveillance de l’Industrie Extractive en Afrique Francophone Subsaharienne (PASIE) Organization: Cowater International

Countries involved

Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali

Supported by

Global Affairs Canada (among others)

Implementing Entities

Cowater International (Canada), Conseil régional de formation des institutions supérieures de contrôle des finances publiques de l’Afrique francophone subsaharienne (Cameroon)

Project Status


Project Period

1/2016 - 1/2022

URL of the practice

www.facebook.com/PASIE.CSi (in French)

Primary SDG

16 - Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

Secondary SDGs

17 - Partnerships for the Goals

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