Former President, Festus Mogae has underscored the need to place governance at the core of natural resources management in Africa, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has stated.
Mogae was speaking at the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday this week ahead of the African Development Forum (ADF), which commenced later that evening.
“As former head of State of Botswana, President Mogae led the transformation of the country’s economy and is highly respected for having established strong institutions that strengthened the development of the country’s natural resources for the benefit of its citizens,” the statement read in part.
ECA further announced that while many African countries have encountered what CoDA refers to as significant barriers to progress in the area of natural resources management, in the area of minerals, for instance, Botswana is lauded as a best practice in light of its well-studied management of its mineral wealth.
Even more importantly, ECA added that Botswana has embarked on an ambitious programme of raising its mineral wealth, thus creating opportunities for employment for more of its citizens.
“The forum focused on how best African countries can use their natural resources to develop their economies and improve citizens’ lives,” the statement read in part and added that the forum identified a number of weaknesses in the majority of African countries, including weak negotiation skills and weak administrative capabilities to organize and monitor relevant sectors.
“Issues such as lack of transparency and accountability in resource use, revenue management, and revenue distribution, persist. There is also a lack of genuine involvement and participation of relevant stakeholders, such as civil society and local communities.”
According to ECA the discussions focused on minerals, forestry, water and large scale based investments in the agricultural sector as key drivers of growth and underscored the importance of using natural resources to transform economies and the potential for generating government revenues, export earnings, foreign direct investment FDI, employment and food security.