Africa Headlines News

Squalor, disease and growing inequality; evidence of mismanagement of Natural Resources in Africa

The unending squalor, disease, and widening inequality constitute part of the evidence of the mismanagement of Africa’s natural resources by its leaders, Mohammed Amin Adam, Ghana’s Deputy Minister for Energy has observed.

Delivering the keynote speech at the opening of the Third Africa Oil Governance Summit here on Monday, Adam called on the continent and its leaders to rise up and acknowledge the fact that they had collectively failed to make the most of the resources their land has been blessed with.

“The continent is uniquely resourced by nature, but the contrast of widespread poverty , disease and growing inequality demand a rethink of how we have managed the resources for many years,” he argued.

The deputy minister urged that efforts to check abuse of natural resources on the continent must not be left for foreigners as the situation appears to be, but should be led by African institutions.

“But our institutions have been largely captured because they are under-resourced, often pursuing special interests, and appropriating rent to a few in our society. This has led to devastating consequences for Africa’s development,” Adam lamented.

He urged: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have to reverse this trend if we are to maximize benefits from our petroleum resources. The way to do this, among others is to ensure that the process of awarding contracts are transparent and credible; and removes doubts on the minds of the ordinary citizens and relevant stakeholders.”

The theme for this year’s two-day summit is: “Maximizing the Benefits of Petroleum Resources in Africa: The Role of Open Contracting for Efficient Negotiations, Revenue Capture and Effective Revenue Utilization.”

Chairing the opening section, Harriette Amissah-Arthur, Co-Founder of Arthur Energy Advisors intimated that governance is the foundation on which society is built, and the extractive industry cannot be left out.

“Our performance so far however leaves much to be desired,” she observed, adding that for most of African’s the paradox of poverty in the midst of natural resource endowment is the reality, which must not be the case.

Amissah-Arthur urged African leaders to allow good governance to work in the oil sector so that the continent can maximize its benefits.

The summit Organized annually by the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) has participants from Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and many African resource-rich countries.

Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director for ACEP reiterated the call on African countries to take advantage of the global transition into Renewable Energy to maximize benefits from its natural resources which are relevant to that sector.

“The world presents Africa with much bigger opportunities in emerging global transition to Renewable Energy. Minerals such as Cobalt, Lithium, Manganese and Nickel that are demanded for battery technologies in renewable energy and other electronic devices are significantly present in Africa,” Boakye observed.

He noted that the Democratic Republic of Congo alone accounts for 50 percent of the world’s supply of Cobalt.

“Africa either has the opportunity to transform these mineral resources and develop these technologies –and by so doing expand her economies or continue her usual exportation of the raw minerals at the mercy of price volatility,” Boakye added. Enditem

Source: Justice Lee Adoboe, Xinhua/