Harnessing mineral gains key for COMESA
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya said the region holds the highest potential for minerals development in the continent and this
potential should be sustainably harness existing multinational trade agreements.
Speaking at the Africa Down Under (ADU) conference on mining in Perth, Australia this week Mr
Ngwenya said sound institutional frameworks will enable Comesa’s national and subnational
governments to have a say in decisions regarding the use of the resources located in their territories.
“Good governance underlines the sustainable exploitation of mineral resources. Harmonisation of
national and regional mining policies will thus underpin sustainable and broadbased socioeconomic
development in the African region for the benefit of all the citizens,” said Mr Ngwenya.
In his address titled “Promoting Sustainable Mining Development through CrossSector Alliances and
MultiStakeholder Partnerships in Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa)” Mr Ngwenya noted that more types of mineral resources can be fully tapped as Comesa’s countries adopt the Mining Vision of Africa.
The ADU event is an annual event aimed at raising awareness of Australia’s interests in African mining and energy. It is attended by governments, investors, mining service industry, suppliers and mining consultants.
He said: “The introduction of an appropriate policy mix and the best global mining practices in line with country specific circumstances would improve institutional capacities and fiscal governance.” Further, he noted that multilateral trade agreement such as the Tripartite Free Trade Area signed by Comesa, East African Community and Southern Africa Development Community provides the necessary framework for multinational mining companies to do business.
“Comesa governments should improve their mining policies in line with the African Mining Vision (AMV)’s principles of transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of a country’s mineral resources to underpin broadbased socioeconomic development,” said Mr Ngwenya.
Comesa’s mining industry is dominated by Zimbabwe, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He said current surge in exploration and mining in the region indicates that COomesa countries, have tremendous potential for mineral deposits. Mr Ngwenya said Comesa countries need to play a key role in proactively regulating the conditions for investments to secure the longterm development of their countries.
“While improved governance of institutions is critical at sector level, Comesa governments’ forging optimal partnerships in building spatial linkages for economic diversification can have a multiplier effect on development outcomes, particularly in its landlocked lowincome economies,” he noted. Hence, they are advised to leverage private investment portfolio efficiently in developing critical infrastructure for crosssector development since most of their mining typically need to invest in infrastructure such as electricity generation plants, roads and ports.
In 2014, Comesa signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Western Australia which established a framework for the cooperation in mineral and petroleum resources, agriculture, vocational training and capacity building.
Subsequently, a Joint Working Group has been implementing Annual Work programmes. Yesterday the working group met to review the work programme for 2017 and plan for 2018. The Group agreed to renewal the MoU which is due to lapse in 2018. Comesa countries that participated in the conference include Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.