Tackling Corruption in Mining: MoMP Signs Agreement with Afghan-German Cooperation

Yesterday, acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Nargis Nehan, signed the implementation agreement for the next phase of the programme for promoting good governance in Afghanistan’s extractive sector (MinGov). The project aims at increasing state revenues, promoting investment and curbing corruption in the sector. 33 representatives from the German Cooperation and the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) including 7 women attended the ceremony at the Serena Hotel in Kabul. The Afghan-German Cooperation is funding the programme’s current phase with over AFN 327 million.

The current project phase has been running since December 2018 and will last until November 2020, with a possible two-year extension. “Today is a milestone for us. With the German Cooperation’s assistance, we can ensure that our abundant mineral resources are a blessing for our country. Today’s agreement will help us to move forward and continue taking on our challenges, together with our esteemed German partners”, emphasized H.E. Minister Nargis Nehan.

MinGov’s activities align closely with MoMP’s reform agenda and ultimately aim at fighting corruption in the sector. Software solutions and management training to MoMP staff will facilitate inter-ministerial cooperation and enable e-governance. The capability to oversee mining processes will be strengthened through technical training for MoMP mine inspectors and by enabling mining communities to monitor their environment and understand their rights in this regard. MinGov will also advise the Afghan Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (AEITI) secretariat in outreach strategies and policy matters to meet the standards’ requirements. Finally, a MoMP gender policy and knowledge sharing events on female employment perspectives will promote gender equality.

Dr. Dominik Schmid from the German Embassy acknowledged the Afghan mining sector’s huge potential for revenue generation, if reforms will be continuously implemented. “However, we can only go as far as our partners go, contributions from both sides are needed. We see a lot of progress from the past months, so we’re glad to continue the support.”, he said.

The current project phase has already celebrated its first successes. A new online portal promotes transparency in the mining sector by displaying updated mining data to the public and allowing investors to apply online for mining licenses. The portal prevents corruption in the allocation of mining licenses by enforcing a first come-first served policy. Furthermore, a first group of mining inspectors has already received training in mining technology and legal requirements, enabling them to inspect and identify law violations more effectively.

The project has also supported several outreach activities for the Afghan EITI secretariat, increasing knowledge on revenue and data reconciliation for key MoMP staff and stakeholders from the private sector and civil society. This will help reduce false reporting from both parties. Finally, the project’s gender workshops have raised awareness for gender equality in the provincial offices, helping to tackle bias and discrimination.

The programme Promoting Good Governance in the Extractive Sector in Afghanistan is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). To fully leverage the Afghan mining sector’s potential, the programme aims at increasing state revenues, promoting investment and fighting corruption in the sector. The project trains stakeholders to ensure that mining activities are carried out transparently and according to law as well as international health and environmental standards. Among other activities, the project has implemented 26 training courses on topics such as mine planning, mining economics and mining supervision for more than 380 mining inspectors and other employees at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) and provincial authorities since 2014. To promote female participation in the sector, the programme has also financed 13 scholarships for Afghan women. The programme further supports the Afghan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI) to promote transparency and fight corruption.