This week the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) adopted a benefical ownership transparency standard. This new standard will see oil, gas and mining companies in the 51 EITI member countries disclose who their true owners are. EITI is a global standard to promote open and accountable management of natural resources. With 51 member states, including the US, UK and Germany and representing 1.8 trillion USD of government oil, mining and gas revenue worldwide, the standard is focussed on extractive industries. Working in partnership with Global Witness during 2015 B Team Leader Mo Ibrahim advocated, on behalf of The B Team to the EITI board, in favor of adopting a beneficial ownership transparency standard for its members.
Beneficial ownership transparency is a system where the true owners of companies can be uniquely identified, eliminating the ability to use anonymous shell companies to hide illegal or corrupt activities. This is a step on the path to ending anonymous companies. Citizens own a country’s natural resources and have a right to know who controls the companies that extract them and who benefits from the revenues raised. The deal reached in Lima will help to prevent conflicts of interest that enable corrupt officials to siphon off cash that could pay for schools, hospitals and skilling people up in countries that badly need it.