The ongoing collapse of mineral prices on the international market, growing debt crisis and dwindling revenue to finance socio-economic development in African countries has refocused attention on how to optimally use the continent’s vast mineral sector through speedy implementation of the African Mining Vision.
The African Mining Vision seeks to foster a transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development. This sustainable growth should move away from a revenue first model of extractive-led development to that of mineral-focused that places development front and center of the mineral value chain, including upstream, downstream and side-stream opportunities for transforming the sector to an engine for structural transformation through industrialization and diversification. African countries did not benefit from the boom and has experience de-industrialization as well as lack of progressivity in fiscal instruments including illicit leakages. Yet, seven years after African leaders adopted the AMV at their February 2009 Summit, very few countries have aligned their minerals policy to the reform agenda, which seeks to stimulate a paradigm shift in mineral resource governance. However, these recent developments have ignited renewed efforts to move towards implementation of the AMV. In 2015, the AMDC announced an AMV compact with the private sector. Earlier this March, the AMDC hosted
a technical workshop to draft an African Mineral Governance Framework to support the implementation and monitoring of the AMV.
It is against this backdrop that the African Union Commission (AUC) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) convened a continent wide two-day high level round-table on March 21-22,2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to further develop and refine the African Minerals Governance Framework (AMGF) for the AMV. The round-table brought about 120 participants from various African governments,
the AU, UNECA, AMDC, Pan African institutions and civil society. The monitoring framework addresses all seven main pillars of the AMV, namely the fiscal regime and revenue management; geological and mineral information systems; building human and institutional capacity; artisanal and small-scale mining; mineral sector governance; linkages, investment and diversification; and environment and social issues.
Civil Society Pushes for Stronger Standards in the AMGF.
Some of the key characteristics and principles civil society want to see captured in the the framework to achieve the overall goal of the AMV include the following:
– That the framework demonstrates Africa’s commitment to gender justice and inclusion, inclusive growth and development. This is why economic diversification and a reconfiguration of the relationships between African states, multinationals, and citizens are critical.
– Abide by the principles of transparency, accountability, equity, justice and inter-generational sustainability. More specifically, to commit to equitable access to information across communities, civil society, government and private sector to ensure that all parties are capable and informed in their decision-making.
– Recognize the importance of human rights and address poor governance, human and labor rights and environmental violations in the extractive sector.
– Promote value addition and a shift away from an over-reliance on foreign direct investment to develop Africa’s minerals.
– Ensure the meaningful participation of affected communities, particularly women and youth, in all stages of resources development. Recognize and uphold the principle of FPIC for communities affected by minerals operations.
– Close the gaps in fiscal regimes at the country and regional levels as well as engage relevant international processes to curb Illicit Financial Flows from the African continent. These must guarantee the disclosure of beneficial ownership of mining and related companies as well as
strengthen the capacity of national administration to manage and monitor the sector.
– Invest in human and institutional capacity building to address the weaknesses in existing governance mechanisms.
– Promote regional integration by supporting harmonization and consolidation of mining policies, including fiscal regimes and value addition to underpin regional industrialization.
– Continue to be build, including at implementation stage, on the multi-stakeholder approach to ensure ownership and sustainability.
Important Considerations to Carry Forward – The road ahead
While civil society is supportive of the development of AMGF, several areas remained unresolved and require further attention following the Round-table. Overall, the lack of government and private sector participation in the Round-table is concerning. In order for the AMGF to be effectively implemented requires the equal commitment and involvement by civil society, government and private sector. Civil society calls for deeper commitments from government and the private sector in this process to develop the Framework. Within the Framework itself, several areas were identified that required further clarification and consideration. These include:
– Gender is currently only explicitly mentioned as it relates to Artisanal and Small Scale Mining. Although gender is considered a cross cutting issue, there is need to ensure that there are specific considerations in all sections of the framework so that relevant data is captured to measure gender issues within the whole mining value chain. Such an approach will ensure that the varying gender benefits and impacts of mining are captured clearly.
– Given the varying contexts in each country, a clear definition and differentiation of Artisanal and Small Scale mining is essential to avoid bundling socioeconomic and environmental issues of Artisanal and Small Scale Miners together when there are critical differences that exists. Specific and targeted policies and interventions should be designed in a way that aligns with the key differences
between the two.
– Another critical issue is that of regional linkages, which is currently underemphasized in the draft Framework. The framework should enable member states to identify opportunities for regional integration as means of consolidating local and national content investments and linkages as a way of promoting broad-based development across African countries.
– The issue of whether consultation should be the overarching principle or if Free and Prior Consent (FPIC) should be the one that is applied overall within the whole document needs further reflection. Although it was argued that consultation happens at different level and is very context and issue specific, FPIC is an important principle that protects the rights of communities who are normally rendered vulnerable because of mining operations. The Framework should continue to uphold the commit to FPIC as articulated in the AMV.
Moving forward, it is critical that an implementation roadmap be clearly outlined and communicated to all stakeholders. The voice of civil society was noted as important and as such the engagement in this process should continue through the efforts of organized groups such as the Alternative Mining Indaba, Third World Network–Africa, Publish What You Pay, Southern Africa Resource Watch, International Alliance on Natural Resources, Tax Justice Network–Africa and Oxfam, among others, who continue to play a key role.
Key stakeholders will convene again in April in Accra, Ghana to finalize the AMGF. A progress report on the Framework will be presented to the AU Ministerial Conference for Mines and Mineral Resources taking place in May of this year. It will then be tested in four pilot countries and go through a multi-stakeholder review before final endorsement by the Ministers of Mineral Resources in May 2017. /END
This statement was prepared by Tax Justice Network–Africa in collaboration with Publish What You Pay–Africa, Southern Africa Resource Watch and Oxfam.