ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 6, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Invitation to representatives of the media
WHEN: 12-16 December 2011
WHERE: Conference Center of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
WHO: The Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission and the Regional Integration and Trade Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) are organizing the Second African Union Conference of Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development.
Why this Conference: Africa possesses massive mineral resources and has a long history of mining, so why hasn't this galvanised development across the continent? Back in 2009 the Africa Mining Vision provided a diagnoses and suggested a few answers.
A key problem, according to the AMV, it that much large-scale mining in Africa is still conducted in enclaves, cut off economically and socially from the host countries. With nearly all minerals and much of the revenue being shipped right out, there is little opportunity for African economies to develop. The situation has changed little since colonial times.
The AMV said that African nations should revisit their mining policies. Accordingly, the AMV is more to it than taxing and spending. It advocated opening out the mining enclaves by forging more local links. African heads endorsed the approach in February 2009.
The AMV advocates; instead of enclaves there should be clusters of businesses. And instead of closed infrastructure that only services the mines, there should be corridors of development that are accessible to all kinds of business, large and small.
The December conference is important because it is only African Governments that can provide the strategic planning framework to bring together mining and development in this way. With so many landlocked countries and so many mineral resources stranded for lack of infrastructure and markets, cooperation and strategic planning is the only way that African business can grow.
Why the media: We are inviting the media to provide coverage of this key debate and to support the message that Africa can transform its economies through mining practices that promote sustainable development. The Conference will be organized as follows: 12-13 December, 2011: Meeting of Senior Officials; 15-16 December, 2011: Ministerial Segment as well as a partners' Round Table on the support of the implementation of the Africa Mining Vision. A Report on Africa's Mineral Regimes will also be launched. This report is the culmination of a review of Africa's mineral policies, laws and regulations led by the International Study Group (ISG) on Africa's Mineral Regimes.
Who is expected: The Conference will bring together African Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development, African experts in mining and mineral resources development, representatives of African Chambers of Mines and Industry, African Private Sector, Academia, UN agencies and NGOs and other relevant development partners.
More: http://www.au.int or http://www.uneca.org for regular updates.