MAC: Mines and Communities

Africans urged to implement the continent's "Mining Vision"

Published by MAC on 2012-11-01
Source: Third World Network Africa

The Executive Director of Third World Network Africa urges implementation of the continent's Mining Vision, saying it "posits a paradigm shift away from the mining and development regime has dominated...since the colonial times".


Comments by Yao Graham, TWN-Africa during Plenary 2 (Roundtable on Mineral Resources for Africa's Development: Anchoring the Vision) of the Africa Development Forum VIII

23 October 2012

Mr. Chairperson, honuorable ministers, excellencies, fellow participants,

1. The Africa Mining Vision (AMV) posits a paradigm shift away from the mining and development regime which has dominated African mining since the colonial times save for the brief period in the 1970s and 80s when African governments nationalized mines and tried but failed to restructure the mining sector's role in Africa's economies. My following remarks touch on some of the organsational and political challenges pertaining the implementation of the AMV and its Action Plan.

2. The analyses underlying the Vision and its objectives strongly resonate with the criticisms within African society and the expectations of citizens. The substantial convergence it offers between citizens and governments on the future of mining and development is a major achievement. However the AMV is still not widely known and its implications appreciated and debated by African citizens as well most African state institutions and officials.

The success of the AMV requires long term multisectoral policies, institution building, as well as the transformation of existing power relations. It is therefore urgent that African governments, RECs, AU, ECA and AfDB work with African civil society (including the trade unions), researchers and private sector to build  the broadest possible stakeholder base within African society sector as well as across public institutions.

This will not only firmly root the legitimacy of the AMV but also provide the political base for a collective engagement with the challenges of implementing and coordinating policies for the AMV's success.

3. It is important for Africa's institutions and governments ensure policy coherence and coordination across sectors and among themselves and in international fora.

For example what are the implications of the bilateral investment treaties that African countries are signing, in their search for foreign investment, for industrial policy, local enterprise development and possibilities for mineral beneficiation?

How will the Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU affect future policy space needed for the realisation of aspects of the AMV? How will the planned Africa Continental Free Trade Area (CAFTA) take account of the Africa Mining Vision?

4. The Africa Mining Vision is the latest in a line of laudable African inter governmental policies and processes aimed at the structural transformation of Africa's economies. The Lagos Plan of Action (LAP) 1980, the African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programmes (AAF-SAP) 1989 are just two examples.

In respect of both the LAP and AAF-SAP African governments let themselves and their fellow citizens down by not implementing decisions they had taken, partly because of external pressure and inducement to implement donor designed policies wrapped up in the sweetener of aid which have ended up maintaining the status quo of Africa's underdevelopment and subordinate location in the global economy.

5. Today there are other mining reform frameworks which compete with the AMV which some donors are actively pushing around the continent with the offer of aid and illusory short term benefits.

It is important that African institutions and governments remain focused and act in a coordinated manner around the AMV. If Africans are ready to betray the decisions of our highest political bodies there are many benefiting from the status quo who will be more than happy to help us along. It is encouraging that a number of foreign government and international bodies have expressed support for the AMV.

It is our responsibility as Africans to ensure that external support serves to supplement our efforts and do not become drivers of the implementation of the AMV as has sadly been the case in other instances.

6. Our collective challenge going forward from this Africa Development Forum is how we work together on the concrete and mundane implementation tasks that will give life to the grand ambitions of the Africa Mining Vision.

I thank you for your attention.

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