IFAA writes an agenda for action inviting all interested parties, mining and manufacturing companies, government, international agencies, research organisations, universities and experts to cooperate with us in advancing knowledge about mineral value chains and how they might benefit the people of Africa.
22nd January 2015
The Institute For African Alternatives (IFAA) and its publication New Agenda, South African Journal of Social and Economic Policy have been engaged in substantial dialogue with major stakeholders for several years on the issue of beneficiation and value addition in the minerals sector.
We have held two important conferences at the Industrial Development Corporation in Johannesburg in partnership with the IDC and with the U N Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Our Director, Ben Turok has been involved with the ECA in preparing the 2013 Economic Report on Africa which analysed commodity value chains across the continent, and has addressed these matters on two occasions the experts conference at the Annual Meetings of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Development convened by the African Union, African Development Bank and Economic Commission for Africa.
IFAA has also published various papers on these issues and can claim a degree of expertise in this area.
We now believe that many policy questions have been dealt with adequately, even if everything has not been resolved.
But we have a long way to go to “win the argument” that much more can be done along the whole mineral value chain to benefit the people of the countries that have significant mineral resources.
To further this objective we now need to do the following:
- compile the research done and collect much more hard information;
- construct a map of Africa’s mineral wealth and who is doing the mining;
- collect information on the obstacles companies experience in local procurement;
- investigate why mining companies prefer to export minerals rather than sell them to local manufacturers;
- examine licencing rules across the continent;
- examine the relevant legislation;
- exchange information on taxation policy;
- collect information on relevant education at various institutions;
- identify the social consequences and benefits for affected communities.
In analysing these issues we shall have to take full cognisance that we live in a global economy which has a high degree of integration. This means that any efforts to discriminate in favour of national interests and domestic industry will require careful consideration and much political will. On the other hand Africa cannot continue to claim that it is host to massive natural resources if it is not also willing to take steps to realise the benefits such resources could bring to its peoples.
We now invite all interested parties, mining and manufacturing companies, government, international agencies, research organisations, universities and experts to cooperate with us in advancing knowledge about mineral value chains and how they might benefit the people of Africa.
Prof Ben Turok
Institute For African Alternatives (IFAA)