818 (XXXI). Promotion of mineral resources development and utilization in Africa


The Conference of Ministers,


            Taking into account the overall objective of the Conference of African Ministers responsible for the Development and Utilization of Mineral Resources and Energy, which is to promote cooperation among African countries in mineral and energy resources development and utilization in the continent and the underlying theme of the Conference "Policies, strategies and programmes for the enhanced contribution of minerals and energy industries to the socio-economic development of Africa",


            Aware of the low rate of implementation of the recommendations/resolutions of the Conference by all the parties involved in the development and utilization of mineral resources in Africa, and recognizing the need to improve the situation,


            Noting with concern the paradox existing between the wealth of the continent in terms of mineral resources and the poor socio-economic conditions of the African peoples,


            Taking further into account the African Governments' willingness to place the welfare of their people at the centre of sustainable development and that all African States and all African people shall cooperate in the essential task of eradicating poverty as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development,


            Noting that entrepreneurship in many African countries is in its infancy or lacks adequate means to contribute effectively to the development and utilization of mineral and energy resources in Africa,


            Recognizing the poor state of development of the African minerals processing industries and the need to strengthen the African countries capabilities and capacities to fully develop their mineral resources,


            Recognizing also the important role of private sector participation in the development of the region's mineral resources,


            Taking into consideration the importance of small-scale mining for the socio-economic development of African people, especially in rural areas, and aware of the need to improve that sector,


            Highly appreciative of the efforts made by member States to strengthen cooperation among themselves in the field of minerals development and utilization and also recognizing the need to devise mechanisms for the enhancement of such cooperation,


            Further recognizing that African Governments, the United Nations system and other international and intergovernmental organizations and institutions, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and other groups are important actors in the process of sustainable development,


            1.         Requests the Economic Commission for Africa to carry out studies on selected minerals with a view to providing member States with information and data which could be used during the process of the establishment of their mineral development policies, strategies and programmes;


            2.         Calls upon member States to put in place policies, strategies, incentives and instruments (such as capital markets, special funds for research, etc.) to encourage especially local entrepreneurs to participate more effectively in the development of mineral resources;


            3.         Urges member States to adopt policies which will encourage further processing of their minerals in order to derive greater benefits out of added value with other associated benefits such as employment creation and more intensive use of minerals;


            4.         Recommends that the Commission should carry out studies on:


            (a)        Privatization as it impinges on the development of the minerals industries in Africa; and


            (b)        African macroeconomic frameworks as they affect the performance of the minerals industries of the continent;


            5.         Also recommends that member States should place emphasis on the establishment of national electronic data bases on mineral resources development and utilization with a view to linking them in the future in order to facilitate easy access to each other's information and data on mineral commodities;


            6.         Requests the Commission to carry out studies on the standardization of formats of the electronic data bases in order to make networking possible and compatible;


            7.         Also requests the Commission to commission a team of experts to carry out a study on the various models and necessary instruments for the promotion of small-scale mining;


            8.         Further requests the Commission, in collaboration with the Organization of African Unity, to convene a meeting of subregional economic groupings with a view to discussing and agreeing on the creation within these groupings of mechanisms that would promote cooperation in minerals sectors and formulate an agreement on this matter;


            9.         Urges member States to harmonize and coordinate regionally supportive mineral development policies, strategies and programmes;


            10.       Recommends that the Commission, in collaboration with the African Development Bank, should continue, on recurrent basis, the compilation of the directory of African experts in minerals and energy sectors;


            11.       Urges the Commission to assist member States in preparation of appropriate investment codes in the mineral and energy sectors in the negotiations with prospective investors in these sectors;


            12.       Proposes that a decade be proclaimed for the development of minerals industries in Africa, and in this regard, recommends that the Commission, in collaboration with the Organization of African Unity, member States, relevant international organizations, African intergovernmental institutions and other institutions to establish a programme for the decade to be submitted for consideration by the next session of the Regional Conference;


            13.       Calls upon the United Nations Secretary-General to take all necessary steps to strengthen the Commission's department responsible for mineral resources development and utilization by providing adequate financial and human resources in order to enable this agency to fulfil its mandate;


            14.       Also calls upon member States, the intergovernmental organizations and the Commission to pursue the implementation of recommendations/resolutions of the fifth Regional Conference, especially with regard to recommendations on the protection of environment against the adverse effects of mining, human resources development and intra-African subregional cooperation and integration in the field of mineral resources development and utilization;


            15.       Recommends that African countries should enhance their cooperation and integration in the field of mineral resources development by giving priority to multinational programmes and projects.


                                                                                                                                          301st meeting,

                                                                                                                                             8 May 1996.