In many African countries, the potential of the extractive industry to develop local economies has yet to be fully realized, monitored, or regulated.  Although considerable attention has been paid to foreign government regulatory measures such as the European Union Accounting and Transparency Directives and Sections 1502 and 1504 of the U.S. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, announcements by Intel Corporation, Apple, and Tullow Oil suggest an industry trend towards self-regulation that could put both regulatory and competitive pressure on other actors in the industry.

At the start of this year, technology giant Intel Corporation announced a Conflict Free Sourcing Policy with regards to its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Soon after, Apple announced plans to cease using conflict minerals in its own supply chain, as well as to “name-and-shame” suppliers which may be sourcing from conflict zones.  And, last week, UK-based, Africa-focused Tullow Oil became the world’s first oil company to disclose revenue payments to foreign governments at the country and project level.  Those industry-led actions, which do not appear to be required by law, are demonstrating (together with longstanding initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) the significant potential that the private sector has in bringing heightened transparency and accountability to the operations of the extractive industry in Africa.