By Shadrack Kavilu
Addis Ababa- Weak regulations and foreign ownership of mineral resources in Africa impeding maximum revenue collection from mineral resources, say policy makers attending the 12th African Economic Conference themed Governance for structural transformation.
The policy makers stressed the need for strengthening inclusive resource governance for natural resources based structural transformation and inclusive growth.
“Africa needs to reclaim ownership of natural resources in order to eradicate poverty and ensure maximum revenue collection from its rich natural resources,” said Dr Claude Kabambe, director Southern Africa research watch open society initiative for southern Africa.
Dr Kabambe noted that the biggest challenge in maximizing revenue collection from mineral resources in Africa is that majority of minerals are captured by politicians and are foreign owned investments.
The researchers underlined the need to restructure current model of revenue collection on natural resources in Africa in order to add value.
“We need to depoliticize these minerals and increase state ownership because this is our largest challenge we are facing as a continent,” said Kabambe.
Africans need to increase state ownership of minerals and give shareholding to communities in order to ensure the continent benefits from its rich minerals resources.
“Majority of these minerals are owned by foreign investors meaning that only a few revenue remains in the country in form of tax,” observed Dr Kabambe.
Also stressing the need for good governance on structures and transformation on natural resources, Hannah Forster, executive director, African centre for democracy and human rights studies urged leaders to put in place regulations that protect land and property rights.
Forster, observed that despite the continent having rich natural reserves for minerals, millions of people who live in these rich mineral areas still languish in poverty.
The rate of poverty in some of these rich mineral areas is appalling, said Forster, adding that 3.5 million people in Africa live in areas rich in mineral resources.
“3.5 million People in Africa live in these rich mineral areas, but sadly these areas are characterized by conflict, corruption, inequality and disasters,” said Forster.
Also speaking during the session, Dr Lilian Ajayi-Ore, executive director global connection for women foundation called on women to change their mind set and be more inclusive in the mineral resources industry.
“Women should be trained and empowered so as to make them decision makers and leaders in these mineral rich areas,” said Dr. Ajayi-Ore.