The extractive sector is the mainstay of many developing countries. If managed well in terms of transparency and revenue administration, it can be a strong vector of growth, development and economic competitiveness. However, if this should not be the case, gas, oil and minerals can also lead to the paradox of plenty. Therefore, resource-abundant countries experience less economic growth and lower development outcomes due to a decline in the competitiveness of other economic sectors, volatility of natural resource revenues and government mismanagement.
Although approaches differ, the European Union and the Swiss Federal Council have taken a leading role in addressing challenges pertaining to commodity trading and their implications for developing countries. Furthermore, a variety of international initiatives aiming at the promotion of transparency and accountability in the extractive industries are already in place.
How can Europe, Switzerland and the international community further improve transparency in the extractive sector and therefore contribute to prosperity, progress and development in resource-dependent countries? What is the role of companies operating in the trading sector? What can be expected by the resource-rich developing countries?