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The African Governance Report 2018 has called for better management of the continent’s natural resources to match the expected yields generated by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The report, entitled ‘Natural Resource Governance and Domestic Revenue Mobilization for Structural Transformation’ was launched at a special plenary session held on Tuesday 4 December during the African Economic Conference, in Kigali, Rwanda.
The African Governance Report is produced by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and examines efforts made to improve the governance of Africa’s natural resources.
If well managed and sustainably exploited, natural resources have the potential to drastically improve domestic revenue mobilization and promote economic diversification across Africa, the report states. It shows that while Africa is endowed with diverse natural resources, including land and water for agriculture, forests for wood and non-wood forest products, and minerals, oil and gas for mining, many of the gains do not benefit all citizens, but only a few interests, including those of international multinational corporations.
“There is an urgent need to sustainably manage Africa’s diverse natural resources, including land and water for agriculture, forests, minerals, oil and gas,” said Adam Elhiraika, ECA Director of the Macroeconomic Policy Division.
He added, “Direct exploitation of natural resources has dominated economic activity, and the most common strategy of exporting commodities across Africa has been in raw form. We need to find a solution to this by insisting on value addition to our natural resources in order to generate more income for our people.”
The report also urges governments to strengthen policies, legal frameworks and institutions in respect of the management of natural resources in order to create viable economic and employment opportunities for citizens.
“Natural resources can be a blessing if the institutions charged with their management are responsible and free of corruption. It has been witnessed across the continent that natural resources such as minerals and oil can become a curse to the population, but this can be resolved by deliberate and organized exploitation,” said Professor Alan Hirsch, Director of the Graduate School of Development Policy at University of Cape Town.
During the session, Prof Hirsch noted that better management of resources will avert much of the damage to agriculture and natural resources that is caused by climate change and adverse weather effects, thus benefitting farmers and the majority of Africans that depend on natural resources for their livelihoods.
The African Development Bank’s African Natural Resources Centre boosts the capacity of African countries to achieve inclusive and sustained growth from natural resources by providing practical knowledge and expertise, advisory services, technical assistance and advocacy for improved and transparent management of renewable and non-renewable resources. The Centre can also assist African countries to maximize development outcomes derived from managing natural resources.
Link to the report here: