United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and African Union: MINERALS AND AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT

UNECA and AU, 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Complete Document: Minerals and African Development Report

 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (abbreviated)

 THIS REPORT ON Africa’s mineral development regimes was prepared by the International Study Group (ISG) established in 2007 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). It analyses African mining from a number of complemenary perspectives, driven by a search for new directions based on the African Mining Vision (AMV) which African leaders adopted in 2009. !e processes which led to this Report started in 2007, at the peak of the expansion in global demand and rise in the prices of minerals and metals before the onset of the global $nancial and economic crisis in 2008. Even as the surge in demand and prices fuelled the best period of growth in Africa for thirty years, the developments also provoked re#ections about the experiences of two decades of continuous expansion of mining across Africa.

The report is based on the central premise of the African Mining vision (AMV) that the structural transformation of African economies is “an essential component of any long-term strategy to ensure the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) …, eradicate poverty and underpin sustainable growth and development”, and that this requires “a strategy … rooted in the utilization of Africa’s signi$cant resource assets”. It recognizes that a central challenge which must be addressed by any long term strategy is how to overcome the historical structural de$ciencies of the mining industry. Mining’s contribution as a supplier of strategic minerals to industrialized countries, the focus of policy on those minerals that play that role, the inadequate returns to the continent and the enclave nature of mining industries have, since colonial times, been and remain central features of the African landscape today. Early post colonial attempts to transform the colonial bequest of an enclave industry failed for a variety of reasons discussed in the Report.

From the late 1980s, the inauguration of extensive liberalizing reforms of regulatory and legal frameworks, on the basis of World Bank prescriptions, drew a line under the nationalist reform efforts. Over the past two decades, the favourable environment the reforms created aided the revival of foreign investment in Africa’s mining industry. While foreign investment has regenerated and expanded mineral production and exports, its contribution to social and economic development objectives has been far less certain and has even been contested in many countries. In many mineral-rich African countries a very visible civil society movement, protesting about the costs and questioning the bene$ts of the revitalized mining sectors, has emerged.

The report examines the costs and benefits of Africa’s contemporary mining regimes and offers proposals about how to optimize the continent’s benefits from the exploitation of its mineral resources while reducing the direct and indirect costs and negative impacts. !ese issues are grouped and discussed in chapters on: the history of mining in Africa; current global trends and the opportunities and challenges they pose; how best to manage the environmental, social and human rights impacts of mining; how to better support and integrate artisanal and small scale mining; the nature and status of corporate social responsibility initiatives; capture, management and sharing of mineral revenues; the optimization of mineral based linkages; the implications of international trade and investments rules for mineral-based industrialization; the important role of institutions and regional strategies for mineral policy harmonization.

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