News / Africa

African Governments to Assert Greater Control Over Mining Industries

A gold mine dump is reflected in toxic water in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg, South Africa, January 26, 2011.
A gold mine dump is reflected in toxic water in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg, South Africa, January 26, 2011.

Several African governments have declared their intention to assert greater control over private sector mining operations and transfer the revenue to weaker areas of their economies. Africa's new "developmental states"  are moving from regulating the mining industry to more direct involvement.

The so-called "Addis Ababa Declaration" approved at a conference of African mining ministers would effectively change the government's role from regulator to director of the mining industry.  Roughly half of Africa's 54 countries were represented at the conference, including seven at the ministerial level.

The declaration expresses concern at Africa's poverty and underdevelopment. It lays out a vision of developmental states that “integrate the mining sector into broader social and economic developmental processes to maximize the benefits” from exploiting mineral resources.

Wikipedia defines the “developmental state” as the phenomenon of state-led macroeconomic planning in which governments take more control of the economy. 

Antonio Pedro of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was among the drafters the declaration. He says the Africa Mining Vision signals a shift in the way governments view their relationship with the mining industry.

"We are moving from a period where each government in Africa was trying to have the best possible fiscal regimes and incentives to attract investment, to a period where governments are trying to ensure that mineral resources can contribute to broad based development," said Pedro.

Pedro says private sector mining firms in a developmental state will be expected to reduce the emphasis on what he called “profit maximization” and focus more on social responsibility.

"Now they have what is known as a social license to mine," he added. "If you do not earn that social license, you will not be able to carry out with your profit maximization value proposition because your communities will encroach on your property, you will not be able to mine."

Ethiopia's Mining Minister Sinkinesh Ejigu told the conference governments face a big challenge in monitoring and negotiating with large mining and oil companies with vast international experience. Ethiopia last month stopped issuing new mining licenses, saying it needed time to re-evaluate the licensing process.

Minister Sinkinesh told Reuters, “our task is not only giving licenses, we have to administer.”

The African continent produces more than 60 metal and mineral products, and is a major source of gold, diamonds, cobalt, and uranium. But mining experts say Africa is one of the world's under-explored regions.

The new push for greater government involvement in mining comes as the 2003 Kimberley Process to prevent so-called “conflict diamonds” from reaching the marketplace, is in tatters.

The international advocacy group Global Witness quit the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme this month, saying the watchdog had failed to stop diamonds from fueling corruption and violence in Zimbabwe.

Critics say the Kimberley Process has allowed President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party to siphon off millions of dollars in profits from the sale of conflict diamonds.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs