The Africa Mining Vision: A Blueprint for Sustainable Development
Talk and discussion with Antonio Pedro on “The Africa Mining Vision: A Blueprint for Sustainable Development.”
Antonio Pedro is the Director of the Sub-regional Office for Eastern Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (full bio below). He has played a leading role in the formulation of the Africa Mining Vision and continues to be at the forefront of its implementation. A full abstract of a paper with the same title appears below. Antonio Pedro will present the paper but will allow time for an interactive discussion.
Antonio M.A. Pedro
Antonio M.A. Pedro is a mineral exploration geologist with 30 years of experience in mineral resources development at national, sub-regional, and continental levels. He is currently Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)’s Sub-regional Office for Eastern Africa in Rwanda; previously, he was the Chief of Infrastructure and Natural Resources Development at ECA headquarters in Ethiopia. At ECA, he has been at the forefront of mineral policy analysis and formulation; he has played a leading role in the formulation of the Africa Mining Vision adopted by the African Union Heads of State in February 2009 and coordinated the work of the International Study Group on Africa's Mineral Regimes. He has served as Director-General of the Southern and Eastern African Mineral Centre, a research centre in Tanzania, and Managing Director of several state-owned mining companies in Mozambique. A native of Mozambique, he has a Masters in Mineral Exploration from the Royal School of Mines at Imperial College, London.
Africa has been at the forefront of mineral policy reform since the 1990s. This has resulted in increased foreign direct investments, new mineral discoveries and expansion of mineral exports. Yet, these improvements have not been sufficient to secure a sustainable mineral sector that is socially and economically integrated into the long-term development aspirations of its peoples. The Africa Mining Vision adopted in February 2009 by the African Union Heads of State and Government represents a credible blueprint for the continent to harness its rich mineral endowment with the view to building resilient and competitive economies and making a dent on poverty as envisaged by the MDGs.
The current sellers market and dispensation characterised by strong competition for access and supply of resources, the emergence of developmental oriented captains of industry, and more favourable political economy as well as the availability of more policy and fiscal space for developing countries to explore, offer a unique window of opportunity for Africa to shift mineral policy from its current rent seeking approach to accommodate wider demands for broader long-term development goals and industrialisation, premised on the abundance and significance of its mineral assets.
The Vision calls for a structural transformation of the minerals sector in Africa through enhanced linkages with the local economy, increased value addition, promotion of local content and empowerment, and a judicious and prudent use of mineral revenue to build up Africa’s capital stock and contribute to a knowledge economy. This entails a multi/cross sectorial approach to mineral development policy, especially the link with industrial policy and development of local enterprises and skills.
Realizing the Vision would require sustainable commitment, effective leadership and smart partnerships at both local and international levels. In addition, there would be a need to formulate development oriented mineral regulatory regimes; improve accountability and transparency of mineral revenue use; and promote good governance and the participation of a broad range of stakeholders in decision making, management and ownership of mineral assets. This needs to be coupled with efforts to strengthen institutional capacities and competencies at government and other levels for efficient long-term planning, prudent management and smart spending, saving and investment of mineral wealth. Africa can learn from resource rich countries like Canada, Australia and some Scandinavian countries that have successfully diversified their economies towards a more sustainable growth and development path.