A meeting organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has argued that the window of opportunity provided by rising commodity prices must correspond to a rise in revenues for African governments by equal measure.
The meeting which was attended by key players in the mining sector during an industry partnership meeting for Mining and Metals examined how the Africa Mining Vision and its goal of facilitating transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development can be translated into national mining visions, developed from a fully transparent and inclusive process.
The organisers of the meeting indicated that while the index price of precious metals and base minerals has increased by over 200% in the last decade, the current contribution of minerals to Africa’s economic development is not commensurate.
They stressed the need for beneficiation and value addition and linkages in the mineral value chain.
“Minerals have to contribute to structural transformation – we have to see a stronger manufacturing sector in Africa going forward,” says Carlos Lopes, the ECA’s Executive Secretary.
Citing Canada, Australia and Chile, industry experts say these countries have used the minerals sector for industrial transformation and the composition of their GDP has seen a growth in the contribution of manufacturing.
And according to Lopes, “commodities have not been a curse but rather a blessing for these countries – the diversified and rich mineral resource base can do the same for Africa.”
The participants noted that the risks are changing in Africa due to increased macroeconomic and political stability in most countries and this offers opportunities for investing in the continent’s highly prospective geology.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi