Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Kwesi Obeng, " Convergence of opinion on Africa’s mining industry," Third World Network, December 23, 2008.

  The failure of the Washington Consensus to deliver sustainable growth and development, the increased role of the state as exemplified by the intervention of US and EU governments in their markets in the wake of the financial meltdown, rising strength of Africa’s bargaining power as a result of the Chinese and Indian competition with the West for Africa’s mineral resources mean that the continent stands a better chance of increasing proceeds from these finite resources.

African ministers for mineral resources development in October endorsed a continental mining framework at their first ever meeting at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Christened African Mining Vision 2050, the document makes a lucid case on why and how the continent could trigger and ensure an ‘equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development’ of Africa. As a blueprint, the vision lays out a road map for the continent to harness its vast mineral resource endowment, to build resource-based competitive advantages, (and) foster structural economic transformation and diversification, regional integration and knowledge-driven continent. A total of 40 states and 29 Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and international organisations including representatives from NGOs, academia and mining companies attended the meeting.

The abundant wealth of Africa along with growing demand for its natural resources contrast sharply with the high levels of poverty and misery on the continent. The ministers therefore focused on the extraction of mineral resources as a sector which could act as a vital lever of sustainable growth and real development to enable these countries to rid it of poverty. Issues of regulations, institutions and technology, capacity-building, harmonization of mining codes and policies, role of civil society and the private sector, evaluation of mechanisms for consultations and sharing of experience, and establishment of a network of African mining countries to spearhead an accelerated development of the continent dominated discussions.

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