Mineral Skills Initiative to support Africa's Mining Vision


ECA Press Release 175/2012

Addis Ababa, 23 October 2012  (ECA) - The African Mineral Skills Initiative (AMSI) was announced today at the Eighth African Development Forum, as one among other expressions of concrete support towards the implementation of the Africa Mining Vision. The initiative has gold mining company, AngloGold Ashanti and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) as partners.

Speaking at the Forum today, Richard Duffy (Executive Vice President for Africa at AngloGold Ashanti) emphasized the importance of the African Mining Vision as a clear and precise document that has brought a renewed energy and focus to the vital role that mining and minerals can play in helping Africa achieve its development goals.

“The mining sector in Africa is booming – and it needs skills,” said Duffy, “But the continent’s educational institutions are not currently in a position to meet this growing demand for a broad range of skills.

"To meet the needs of governments which need to regulate the mining sector, civil society which needs to offer an independent view of the sector, and the private sector which needs to grow and improve – a drastic increase in the number of Africans with skills in the mining sector is needed," he added.

Antonio Pedro, Director, ECA Eastern African Subregional office, said the skills initiative is a welcome development as partnerships are needed between policy oriented institutions and civil society, including the private sector, to strengthen the human and institutional capacities in the African minerals sector.

"Creating these capacities would strengthen Africa's bargaining power, and this is something the Africa Minerals Development Centre, to be established by the African Union Commission, ECA and the African Development Bank would aim to see up-scaled," he said.

The need for Africa to participate more effectively in the minerals value chain has gained momentum in recent years, as African economies continue to show strong signs of sustained growth. Given that this growth has not translated into development gains for most countries, the African Mining Vision is seen as a blueprint for transforming the minerals sector into tangible gains for citizens.

According to Pedro, "Moving up the minerals value chain is key to growing economies that are inclusive and creating the requisite transformation that can address current vulnerabilities."

At the Forum, it was noted that traditionally, ‘mineral skills’ have been defined quite narrowly – generally as being engineering and geology related. But as Africa moves into the future, the skills required to deal effectively with an increasingly complex world extend far beyond only engineering and geology. Thus, it was noted, adopting a broader and more holistic view of the skills needed to effectively grow and administer the minerals industry in Africa is vital and in this regard, the modern minerals sector requires competency in areas such as strategic planning, law, finance, fiscal policy, environment, community affairs and human rights.

The African Minerals Skills Initiative aims to support the Africa Mining Vision by:
• Focusing on broad skills development in Africa in relation to the minerals sector;
• Taking a holistic view of skills and institution building for the minerals industry; and
• Supporting locally-owned delivery of skills and opportunities through selected African mining schools.

The African Mineral Skills Initiative also aims to be integrated with the African Mineral Development Centre which is currently being developed by a tripartite partnership of the African Union Commission, African Development Bank and ECA. AngloGold Ashanti confirmed that it would contribute US$ 1 million in 2013 as part of a broader five-year commitment towards the Centre. That US$1 million will be earmarked for the integration of the African Mineral Skills Initiative in the Centre’s work going forward, to ensure AMSI thrives and flourishes in the coming years.

Today's announcement comes soon after the Government of Australia announced support for the Centre of $5million over the next 2 years in August this year at the annual Africa Down Under Conference.

“We need to create a well-managed and efficient minerals industry that can transform finite natural resources and transient wealth into lasting development,” stated Duffy. “ECA and AngloGold Ashanti look forward to developing this exciting new initiative, and to supporting the realisation of the African Mining Vision by working together on AMSI.”

The Africa Mining Vision was adopted by Heads of State at the February 2009 AU summit following the October 2008 meeting of African Ministers responsible for Mineral Resources Development. It is Africa’s own response to tackling the paradox of great mineral wealth existing side by side with pervasive poverty. The AMV is a developmental mining approach that insists that the royal road to growth is through building economic and social linkages that benefit Africa itself.

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Contact: Tanja Rasmussen
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 558 811 or  Mobile +44 (0) 7803 628115
Or visit: www.africanmineralskills.org

In Addis Ababa, contact:
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or visit: www.africaminingvision.org

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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa