Africa is on a recovery path as mining firms on the continent have been recalibrating their business plans and financial models in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from the direct effects of the pandemic on production, wider challenges on the global economy have impacted on commodity prices and the performance of currencies on the continent. In the midst of these disruptions, Africa remains resilient and committed to establishing collaborative partnerships framed within coherent and consistent policy frameworks aimed at supporting the continent’s transformation agenda. According to the Oxfam Briefing Paper (March 2017), the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) could potentially be the game-changer in Africa’s mineral sector as it comprehensively addresses the challenges associated with harnessing Africa’s mineral resources for sustainable development, while striving to reflect global norms for the equitable governance of mineral sectors.
However, there seems to be a general lack of awareness of the AMV, particularly among key stakeholders in Africa’s mineral sector. This article seeks to highlight the key policy considerations under the Africa Mining Vision and how African countries can leverage this policy towards realising structural economic transformation.
Key features of the AMV
- The AMV provides an array of linkages – backward, forward, spatial, knowledge and side-stream, that should be created in order to derive maximum value from mineral extraction on the continent.
- The AMV makes several important commitments to promote transparency and accountability in the management of mineral revenues, by requesting AU member states to mainstream the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, the Equator Principles and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
- The AMV calls for community participation in mineral revenue management, equitable revenue allocations to mining communities, building communities’ capacity to negotiate benefit agreements, and the provision of non-fiscal benefits (employment and social infrastructure). It additionally supports regional actions to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
- The AMV makes a high-level commitment to inclusivity by promoting gender justice and women’s rights, notably through the integration of gender equity in mining policies, laws and regulations, and the development of regional and continental gender charters for the extractive sector.
- The AMV emphasises the importance of promoting environmental sustainability and responding to climate change. Further, the AMV makes several recommendations on the mainstreaming of Strategic Environmental Assessments and Social Assessments (SESAs), Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) and Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs) in national laws, policies and regulations, and calls for these processes to be mandatory for all mining project approvals.
Zimbabwe is among the AU member states that are in various stages of implementing the Africa Mining Vision. The transformation agenda of the mining industry in Africa will require contract transparency, the disclosure of beneficial ownership, the requirements on the disaggregated reporting of revenues earned from mineral activities, auditing export volumes, and building the capacity of revenue authorities to tackle transfer pricing by extractive companies and illicit financial flows from the mineral sector. It is for this reason that countries are encouraged to expedite the implementation of the AMV by aligning mineral sector laws, policies and institutions with its provisions.
To harness Africa’s mineral resources to provide high and sustained growth, raise living standards, create employment opportunities, the Africa Mining Vision is the key that will unlock Structural Transformation for the continent.