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African Mining Ministers to meet on implementing their Vision

By Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 13, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The 2nd African Union Conference of Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development will be held in Addis Ababa from December 12-16 on the theme: Building a Sustainable Future for Africa's Extractive Industry: from Vision into Action.

The Conference borrows its title from the African Mining Vision. The Mining Vision was adopted by Heads of State and Government at the February 2009 AU summit following the first meeting of AU mining ministers in October 2008.

Ayoup Elrashidi Zaid, Senior Policy Officer at the African Union says: “This is the perfect time for mining ministers to meet again and move the Vision into action. Two years ago they agreed on a policy framework for linking mining with development, now there is increasing momentum as we move forward to implementation.”

The Conference expects to see Ministers, government officials and donors together with industry representatives and civil society organisations converge at the African Union Conference Centre in Addis Ababa to agree what each of them can do "to take the Africa Mining Vision forward."

A key premise of the AMV is that mining should become a catalyst for broad-based sustainable development. The Mining Vision argues that until now mining has been run as an enclave activity, meaning that the economic and social linkages within Africa itself have not been as strong as they should be.

According to the AMV, governments in Africa have focused too much on getting revenue from mining and not enough on using the industry as a catalyst for development. The thrust, going forward, is for the industry to do much more to encourage enterprises to develop around mining centres.

The AMV points to the development corridor that links Mozambique's coalfields in Tete to the port of Beira, as the kind of approach that governments need to pursue. "The idea there is to use a transport corridor as a way of stimulating the African entrepreneurial spirit by encouraging business all along the route. It's potentially a trade super-highway," says El-Rashidi.

He adds, "It's high time there was a rethink on the way mining regimes are set up in Africa - at the very least, governments need to move beyond a “tax and spend” approach to their mining policy and start thinking outside the “mining box”.

He also points out that by narrowing focus on mining itself, we have neglected to work out how to make use of mining as a catalyst for development – “now that's all changing and it's time to shift the paradigm.”

The Conference will launch a new major report, Minerals and Africa's Development that was drafted by an expert technical task force – the International Study Group – established under the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The Report reviews current mineral regimes across Africa and against this background sets out the policy implications for implementing the Africa Mining Vision. The main recommendations of the report, and the Vision itself, have formed the basis for an action plan which will be agreed at the Conference. The plan is expected to form the basis for implementing the vision.

Jointly issued by the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa:


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