Delivering on the promise: Launch of AfDB-Gates Foundation report on extractives and human development

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From left to right: Sheila Khama, Director of the African Natural Resources Center; Donald Kaberuka, AfDB President; and Mark Suzman, President for Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Africa needs to adopt policies to transform its natural resources into human capital and better living standards for its citizens and learn from the existing good practices on the continent.” These were the words of African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka, at the launch of the report “Delivering on the promise: Leveraging natural resources to accelerate human development in Africa” on Friday, June 5 during the World Economic Forum for Africa in Cape Town.

The report is the fruit of an innovative partnership between the AfDB and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and highlights the options available for countries to use newly discovered natural resources to deliver a step change in human development outcomes. The report was spearheaded by the AfDB’s African Natural Resources Center with contributions from the Bank’s Development Research and Human Capital Development Departments. The publication looks at the cases of Ghana, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda in building accessible policy frameworks to link revenue management decisions to human development agendas. The report also examines how best to leverage extractives companies’ employment, procurement, infrastructure and social investments.

“This report is about narrowing the knowledge gap between the process of extraction of resources and the delivery of human development outcomes for Africa,” said Mark Suzman, President for Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at the launch.

The launch event was attended by 20 eminent African policy-makers, industry leaders and civil society who gathered to discuss how to take forwards the report recommendations to transform human development in the continent. 

Sheila Khama, Director of the African Natural Resources Center, pointed out that “if this complex agenda is to succeed, African countries need to balance overreliance on revenues with direct linkages between the extractive industry and the rest of the domestic economy”.