Conference EU-Africa Partnership - Brussels, 26 January 2012
Translating Mineral Resource Wealth into Real Development for Africa
This conference which was attended by some 250 delegates from government, civil society and industry across 22 African countries, explored how to implement the raw materials aspects of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy Action Plan 2011-13 .
In his keynote speech, Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, underlined how mineral wealth can foster broad-based, sustainable growth, especially in Africa – as well as giving the developed world sustainable supplies of raw materials.
Sinknesh Ejigu, Ethiopian Minister of Mines, highlighted how Africa could learn from Europe's experience, to overcome the main challenges facing its mineral industry – namely a lack of:
- geoscientific information
- capacity to negotiate, administer and monitor mining contracts
- value added, either upstream or downstream
- economic linkages between mining and other sustainable sectors
- investment (the mineral industry is very capital intensive)
- capacity to assist and manage artisanal and small-scale mining
- prevention of environmental degradation/other negative impacts on (local) communities.
Discussions centered on 3 main themes from the Joint Africa-EU Strategy Action Plan 2011-13 – based on recommendations for progress in each, prepared before the conference by delegates in working groups. The results will feed into the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy Action Plan 2011-13.
1 – Governance
Improvement will require more:
- transparency – especially with regard to payments and contracts
- administrative capacity for governments and parliaments in contract negotiations
- involvement of civil society and the private sector.
2 – Investment and infrastructure
Europe can help Africa:
- improve the investment potential of mining development corridors
- enhance policy and regulation on issues like environmental impacts of mining
- transfer such approaches to state mining companies (using its experience in corporate social responsibility)
- use small firms (mining and other) to increase local content and diversify mining supply chains.
3 – Geological knowledge and skills
The EU and AU should work to improve:
- cooperation between the European and African geological surveys
- the capacity of the Organisation of African Geological Surveys (OAGS)
- continuous training in this area – and especially African capacity to provide it.
African countries represented at the conference:
Ethiopia, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Burundi, Guinea, Tunisia, Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Tanzania, Mauritania, Djibouti, Chad, Liberia, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Togo, Malawi and Uganda.
Full report from the conference [356 KB]
Conference programme [4 MB]