Prudent management of natural resource needed for African economic growth- Mike Hammah
6/28/2012 3:01:52 PM -
Accra, June 27, GNA - Africa can improve its pace of economic growth and address her infrastructure deficit, if the significant mineral resources are managed within the framework of good governance, Mr Mike Hammah, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has said.
He said Africa's abundant mineral resources offered potential wealth creation opportunities for socio -economic development saying ' however the rate at which mining is catalyzing long term, broad based development on the continent through the actualization of the linkage opportunities-backward, forward and lateral- has been and continues to be rather slow.'
Mr Hammah said this at four days conference on Civil Society Organisation and the Realization of Africa Mining Vision organised by Third World Network in Accra.
The conference was to deepen understanding of the African Mining Vision and related policy documents as well as provide input into the Business Plan of the African Minerals Development Centre.
The conference would be used to make input and contributions to the business plan of the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC), the coordination body for the implementation of decisions towards the realisation of the Mining Vision.
It also aims at generating common understanding about opportunities and challenges around the continent's mining reform agenda.
Fifty participants drawn from representatives of African civil society networks, coalitions and social constituencies from labour movements, mining affected groups, artisanal and small scale mining organisations, policy officials, and gender groups would attend the meeting.
Mr Hammah said until the Continent developed its local industries to supply significant proportions of inputs needed by the mining sector and add value to the raw minerals produced, it would be difficult to optimize contribution from the exploitation of Africa's minerals.
The minister said a United Nations Economic (UNECA) Report revealed that the adequacy of revenue obtained by African governments from mineral exploitation remains a subject of controversy.
He said it was necessary for Ghana to participate actively in international, regional and sub-regional initiatives that would promote and enable the optimization of proceeds from its mineral resources, while ensuring that the mining industry does not engender environmental degradation, social tensions and poverty.
One of the key regional initiatives, according to the minister was the development of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV), which aimed at ensuring transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to strengthen broad based sustainable growth and socio-economic development through downstream, upstream and side stream linkages.
'The AMV also seeks to shift mineral policy beyond the focus on regimes devoted to the extraction of minerals and the sharing of revenue' he said.
The minister indicated that government had been concerned about the impact of mining on the environment and had recently passed some draft mining regulations, which included minerals and mining (explosives) Regulation, 2012, Minerals and Mining(Compensation and Resettlement) Regulations, 2012, among others to give full effect to the Act 703.
He noted that these regulations required protection of sensitive areas while demanding reclamation and rehabilitation of other impacted areas after mining activities.
Mr Hammah pledged government's commitment to working with citizens groups, civil society organizations, experts and all stakeholders for the realization of the transformative perspectives of the AMV.
Mr Oliver Maponga, ECA Sub-regional office for West Africa, said the workshop was part of a broader consultation process to build a comprehensive momentum around the business plan.
He said the implementation of the diverse activities in the Action Plan of the vision would require partnership and the utilization of comparative strengths and expertise in a collaborative manner.
'It is important that as we deliberate during this meeting, we remain focused and strengthen partnerships, not just for the material support but also for bridging the expertise gap. We at ECA are enthusiastic and optimistic about the successful implementation of the Vision.' He said.