Kinshasa Conference Calls for Strengthening Management of Resource Wealth To Promote Inclusive Growth and Higher Living Standards
KINSHASA, Dem. Rep. of Congo (DRC) March 22, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A conference on the “Management of Natural Resources in Sub-Saharan Africa,” co-hosted by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Kinshasa on March 21–22, 2012, underlined the importance of strengthening the management of natural resource wealth to promote more rapid, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth in the continent.
At the conclusion of the conference, Mr. Matata Ponyo Mapon, Minister of Finance of the Democratic Republic of Congo stated: “Good management of natural resources in Africa is of vital importance for ensuring that this endowment benefits all Africans. The government of the Democratic of Congo is strongly committed to improving the management of its natural resources.”
In turn, Ms. Antoinette M. Sayeh, Director of the IMF's African Department, said “The Kinshasa Conference marked an important step toward strengthening the capacity of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to harness their natural resource wealth for sustained and more inclusive economic growth.”
Participants in the conference, including government officials from over 20 African countries, leading academic experts, the private sector, and CSOs, shared their experience and combined knowledge on ways to turn the substantial revenue generated by natural resources wealth into greater economic welfare.
They agreed that the management of natural resource revenue poses significant economic challenges, including dealing with commodity price volatility and limited economic diversification and job creation. Participants underlined the importance of taking advantage of the current high commodity prices to strengthen public financial management so as to scale up investment efficiently and establish the basis for broad-based and sustained economic growth in the future.
Participants noted that extractive industries often contribute relatively modestly to public revenues. They agreed that reviewing tax policies and strengthening revenue administration are important objectives for natural resource producers and welcomed the increased focus of technical assistance in this area, including from the IMF.
Participants agreed that good governance and transparency are critical to ensuring that all stakeholders – investors, governments, and other stakeholders—feel that they get a fair share. Sound public financial management is also essential to make sure that public spending is efficient and that investment is directed toward strengthening critical public infrastructure and basic social services.
It is envisaged that the IMF Executive Board will discuss issues of natural resources management further in the coming months.