Africa/Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Twenty-one African policy makers, academics and development practitioners came together at the headquarters of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, October 17-20 to draft model legislation for the quarrying and small-scale mining of 'Development Minerals' and to develop a multi-authored edited book about Development Minerals in Africa. The participants represented Algeria, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The African Union's 50-year development blueprint - Agenda 2063 - sets out a vision for the structural transformation of Africa through green industrialization. Aspiration 1 of the Agenda highlights the importance of the beneficiation of Africa's natural resources, manufacturing, industrialization and value addition, as well as raising productivity and competitiveness. While the global discourse is concentrated on the development challenges faced by resource rich African countries due to the cyclical price fluctuations in high-value metals coupled with poor sector governance, the minerals that are most necessary for transformational development and are less sensitive to global market forces are coming into sharper focus for the continent.
Development Minerals and materials that are mined, processed, manufactured and used domestically and regionally, in industries like construction, manufacturing and agriculture. Development Minerals include construction materials, such as sand, gravel and cement, industrial minerals, such as bentonite, gypsum and talc, dimension stones such as marble, granite and slate, and semi-precious stones, such as garnet. By nurturing homegrown industrial activity, Development Minerals contribute greatly to local economic development through jobs, enterprise and new skills.
The gathering of African practitioners used a 'book-sprint' format to draft the model law and to develop the multi-authored edited book. The participants sought to reclaim the major role that these minerals can play in Africa's economic development, and to fill a gap in coverage of the sector in Africa's mining laws.
The book-sprint was held under the auspices of the Africa Mining Legislation Atlas, a partnership between the World Bank Group, the African Legal Support Facility, and the African Union Commission, as well as the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme, a partnership between the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, European Union and United Nations Development Programme.