Delegates from around Africa wrapped up the 8th African Development Forum, ADF, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Thursday, October 25. African countries were called on to harness their abundant natural resources for the sustainability of economies and the empowerment of the people of the continent.
The continent of Africa hosts a wealth of natural resources, some of which include platinum, diamonds, gold, copper, chromium, iron, cobalt and oil.
“$50-billion leaves Africa’s soils every year in terms of illicit financial flow,” said Yinka Adeyemi of the Economic Commission for Africa.
Adeyemi said for too long the continent has been experiencing the draining of its natural resources, either through direct stealing, or by other illicit means, leaving the people of these countries in poverty.
“The problem we have been facing is that these resources are not used appropriately and adequately for improvement of our people’s lives. An economists’ projection for 2012 said that five of the ten top growers in terms of GDP are in Africa. How come some of these countries are also some of the poorest?” said Adeyemi, who went on to provide the example of Niger.
“Niger comes in at about five or six in terms of uranium. Why is it that that same country happens to be one of the poorest in the world? It makes no sense,” said Adeyemi.
Adeyemi went on to say that in order for Africans to benefit from their abundant natural resources, participants at the forum put into place some initiatives. The goal is for African countries to have a framework that goes beyond each country so they can work together on addressing the issues affecting natural resources, either by regulation or civil society action.
By the end of the session it is expected that hundreds of the participants will have adopted a consensus statement.
“The consensus statement will outline a plan of action. We are the Economic Commission of Africa. We’ve accompanied countries to implement a plan of action. The work will depend on what each country can do,” said Adeyemi.
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