Godfrey Mutizwa, CNBC Africa
African leaders are increasingly encouraging their private sectors to play a more central role in shaping their key African Mining Vision (AMV) blueprint after largely freezing them out in its first decade.
African Union (AU) heads of state adopted the AMV in 2009 as a driver for structural transformation, industrialisation and a driver of growth after years of nationally centered policies that failed to help them realise the goal of creating regional value chains and an economically integrated Africa.
“The biggest shortcoming of the AMV was that the private sector was not embraced at the beginning,’’ Veston Malango, the Chief Executive of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia told a panel discussion reviewing 10 years of the AMV in Accra, Ghana. “The CEOs were not aware of AMV but now we are very much involved.’’
The AU has been driving the AMV through its African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) since 2013, seeking to help countries adjust to changing technologies and linkages between mining and other sectors of the economy, reform their fiscal and tax regimes and improve governance. The AMDC developed a mining guide for countries for domesticating the AMV and aligning it with other countries.
But many have been struggling, Mutuso Dhliwayo, Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association told the panel.
He presented a case study of Lesotho, Malawi and Sierra Leone which showed Lesotho and Sierra Leone only marrying their mining policies to the AMV from 2015 when the vision was agreed in 2009. The AU says just 34 of its 54 member countries have “attempted some level domestication of AMV.’’
The AU wants to revamp the AMV as part of a strategy to drive the African Continental Free Trade (AFCTA) which was launched last year seeking to create a consumer market valued at more than $3 trillion for Africa’s of 1.3 billion people while also dealing with technological changes in mining.
Kojo Busia, Chief of the United Nations Economic Community for Africa’s Natural Resources Management, said some of the key lessons of the past decade was the need to integrate mining within the broader economy and for the intensification of the drive to create regional mining linkages especially in infrastructure.
“The potential for regional value chains can only be realised through regional growth especially for industries like manufacturing,’’ he said. “Otherwise it becomes a race to the bottom.’’