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The Investing in African Mining Indaba, one of the world’s largest mining conference, wrapped up on 9 February, 2017, in Cape Town, South Africa with the African Development Bank playing a key role in helping to shape the continent’s future in the sector. This year, the Bank, which is one of the major sponsors of the event, hosted three key sessions to help improve African governments’ knowledge and skills in the global mining sector. In addition to the sessions, the Bank also participated in a panel addressing the challenges of artisanal and small scale mining to ensure it acts as a catalyst for socioeconomic development.
Several departments of the AfDB were represented at the conference including the African Natural Resources Center that provides policy advice and technical assistance to African countries, the private sector department that provides financial services, the climate change department, the anti-corruption office and the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF).
The Bank’s sessions were particularly popular and dynamic. The Minister of Industry and Mines of Cote d’Ivoire, Jean Clause Brou, joined the panel discussion with policy makers and industry players on Negotiating a better deal on natural resources projects: AfBD’s capacity building program for governments by the African Natural Resources Center (Download guideline here). Other sessions included a workshop on Corporate Governance in the Boardroom for Government officials by ALSF, and a jointly hosted ALSF and World Bank session on Enhancing Mining Law for Sustainable Development: African Mining Legislation Atlas.
In addition to these knowledge-sharing opportunities, the AfDB hosted the ministerial lounge; which provided opportunities for high-level interactions with policy makers and attracted several ministers. These included ministers from Central African Republic, Guinea, Mali, Zambia, DR Congo, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Zimbabwe as well as former South African President, Thabo Mbeki.
The level of engagement was underscores how the Bank plays the role of a reliable and considerate partner of governments in a sensitive and challenging sector. Reiterating this, Amani Abou-Zeid of the AfDB said, “We’re happy to be called upon by governments to offer technical advice as well as facilitate discourse in our various forums. We’ve succeeded in providing a platform that builds on the discussions in and out of the board room, amongst policy-makers.”
At the next Mining Indaba, the AfDB will continue to provide support to ministers as well as engage with stakeholders and key players to allow Africa’s mining sector to increase benefits for the people of Africa and especially the communities in which mining occurs.