The African Union Commission Chair, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma urged miners attending the Junior Indaba in Johannesburg, to make concerted efforts to ensure there is beneficiation of mineral resources within the region.
She said the current weakening in commodities was being felt by Africans as more effects were hitting those exporting raw minerals and not value added goods.
“This sector is so critical to Africa’s development since the exploration of old and new deposits of minerals have the potential to catapult our growth and development to higher levels,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
“It is no secret that Africa is rich in minerals and other natural resources, resources that have been commercially exploited for centuries. Africa ranks first or second in the world’s global reserves in bauxite, cobalt, coltan, phosphate rock, platinum, vermiculite, manganese, soda ash, and zirconium. The continent also has most other minerals and precious metals.”
Dlamini-Zuma added that the continent accounted for three-quarters of the world’s platinum supply.
“Half of the world’s diamonds and chromium comes from the continent, which also accounts for one-fifth of global gold and uranium supplies. Africa is also home to at least thirty-three countries with oil and gas. With recent discoveries, its importance as a producer of iron ore is growing.”
Dlamini-Zuma decried the never ending inequalities prevalent in the region saying this paradox of rich Africa, poor Africans was best characterised by the systematic inconsistency between a continent with a young, growing and fast urbanising population.
“[This paradox is also seen] in the continent’s rich natural resources and productive land with the most diverse flora and fauna, and yet the countries that make up the continent are in the majority of the least developed economies in the world.”