Dialogue seeks solutions to natural resources governance
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ECA Press Release 173/2012

 Addis Ababa, 21 October (ECA) - The Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) gathered civil society actors from around Africa around the theme: “Leveraging State-Society Dialogue for Improving Natural Resource Governance in Africa”. The 1-day event took place on 22 October, in advance of the African Development Forum (ADF) that officially opened on the same evening. The forum focused on how best African countries can use their natural resources to develop their economies and improve citizens’ lives.

In his opening remarks, former President Festus Mogae underscored the need to place governance at the core of natural resources management in Africa. As former head of State of Botswana, President Mogae led the transformation of the country’s economy and is highly respected for having established strong institutions that strengthened the development of the country's natural resources for the benefit of its citizens.

While many African countries have encountered what CoDA refers to as significant barriers to progress in the area of natural resources management, in the area of minerals, for instance, Botswana is lauded as a best practice in light of its well-studied management of its mineral wealth. More importantly, Botswana has embarked on an ambitious programme of rising its mineral wealth up the value-chain, thus creating opportunities for employment for more of its citizens.

The forum identified a number of weaknesses in the majority of African countries, including weak negotiation skills and weak administrative capabilities to organize and monitor relevant sectors. Issues such as lack of transparency and accountability in resource use, revenue management, and revenue distribution, persist. There is also a lack of genuine involvement and participation of relevant stakeholders, such as civil society and local communities).

The discussions focused on minerals, forestry, water and large scale based investments in the agricultural sector as key drivers of growth. The forum underscored the importance of using natural resources to transform economies and the potential for generating government revenues, export earnings, foreign direct investment FDI, employment AND food security.

The pre-ADF event was organized by the CoDA Land Policy Initiative (LPI), ECA APRM Support Section, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Union (AU). Former President Festus Mogae is the CoDA Chairperson.
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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa