Mineral Resources, Security and Development in Africa By Braima Koroma Lecturer, Institute of Geography and Development Studies, School of Environmental Sciences, Njala University Introduction: an overview Africa’s known mineral wealth places it among the world’s richest continents.
Its very large share of the world’s mineral resources includes diamonds, gold, silver, the platinum group metals, emeralds, rubies, and other precious minerals, bauxite, manganese, nickel, cobalt, copper, cadmium, chrome, chromium, lithium, tantalum, germanium, lead, zinc, and other non-ferrous metals, iron-ores (hematite and magnetite), antimony, germanium, uranium, radium, tin, low cost thorium, cassiterite, rutile, ilmenite, zircon, monazite, mica, vermiculite, limestone, gypsum, barites, potash, phosphates, kaolin, “granite” for dimensional stones, and other industrial minerals.
Africa is also known for proven reserves of high quality petroleum, natural gas, peat, lignite, and coal with low sulphur content (i. e. Gondwana coal) (see figure 1). Some of the largest, and richest, mineral deposits in the world have been found in Africa. For much of the last half of the 20th century little mineral exploration and development work was done in Africa, except for Southern Africa, even though there is significant potential for the discovery of new deposits.
By the mid 1990’s modern exploration started to spread across much of Africa and many new deposits have been discovered and developed and some of the old major deposits are being renovated. South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia and the DRC dominate the African mining industry. Whilst countries such as Angola, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana rely heavily on the mining industry as a major foreign currency earner. Unfortunately several African civil wars are funded by (and often caused by) some of these commodities, in particular diamonds.
The potential of Africa for the discovery and development of mineral resources is immense. Major new mines opening in Africa or under development are distributed between South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, and Gabon producing gold, diamonds, niobium products, PGEs, Chrome and base metals. Major discoveries over the last year include the discovery of several diamondiferous kimberlites in Mauritania and Sierra Leone, and still in the diamond scene, the potential marine deposits in offshore of southern Namibia. Mineral occurrences are present throughout the continent in all countries.
Most of these countries will never be anything but isolated areas that contain small amount of a mineral resource and will never be developed as a modern mine. The reason for that is because most of these occurrences do not contain enough volume of the mineral to make mining economic. However, the use of modern exploration methods in the region where these occurrences are known could result in the discovery of new, and previously unknown, deposits, which could be of sufficient quantity and quality to allow for economic mining.
Countries rich in minerals such as cobalt, copper and gold are marred by corruption, authoritarian repression, militarization and civil war. Rebel groups, governments and mining companies exploit mineral resources, fueling civil and interstate conflict as players vie for control over riches. Countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo have fallen victim of rebels who use revenue from mineral such as diamonds, coltan and cassiterite to purchase arms and fuel conflicts. Mineral resources and conflict
Available statistics indicate that a total of 26-armed conflict erupted in Africa between 1963 and 1998, affecting 474 million people, or 61% of the population. Environmental resource capture, in particular mineral resources, has been a fundamental cause of these conflicts and insecurity in many parts of the continent. Countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Angola are slowly emerging out of conflicts that were fueled by years of contest over mineral resources. Some of the conflicts appear to be simmering in petroleum-endowed countries such as Sao Tome and Principe and Guinea Bissau.
Also, incidences of community dissent and conflict over mining, oil and gas are widespread and growing in Africa. The cycle of conflict between communities and transnational oil corporations operating in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria is a well-known phenomenon. No year passes without conflict resulting in the death of scores of innocent rural people. The frequent clashes are a result of neglect and denial of the communities their right to clean environment and development, failed promises by the companies, and abuse of power by government.
The contest between Nigeria and Cameroon on ownership of the Bakassi peninsula is not so much about control of the population but rather over ownership and control of the potential oil reserves in the area. In the last few decades mineral resource capture triggered by external policy prescription and reinforced by the character of the state, its policies, and its relationship to the society at large has heightened conflict, particularly at the community level, across Africa.
For instance, under the global structural adjustment programme a part of the process of globalization prescribed by the World Bank Group, mineral-rich African countries were made to believe that they would obtain fair share of economic rent from mineral resources by liberalizing and privatizing the sector. In response to this paradigm many African countries conceded to restructure their mineral sectors, radically deregulating the sector, divesting the state of its control and direct investment while providing generous incentive packages to investors in the sector.
These changes provided a slide for foreign transnational corporations to descend on Africa’s mineral resources resulting in an increased mineral resource capture. While African governments promote and facilitate accelerated mineral capture they have not been able to regulate transnational corporations to offer protection for their citizens, the environment and the national economy. Closely related to the weakness of African states is the character of governance, which is also a major source of resource conflict.
There is now a trend towards democratization in Africa. There has been a routine of some key element of democratic system, including more frequent general elections, somewhat robust political parties, and a relatively freer press. A case study: Mineral Resources in conflict (Sierra Leone) (excerpts from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report) The management of state resources is central to the quality of governance in any country.
This is particularly the case in Sierra Leone, which despite its huge mineral resources (primarily, extensive alluvial and kimberlites diamond deposits, bauxite, rutile, iron and gold), has remained one of the poorest countries in the world. Since Sierra Leone’s economy depends essentially on revenues from its mineral resources, this case study scenario examines how mineral resources were used by successive governments, how they may have contributed to the war and the extent to which combat groups exploited them to sustain and replenish their activities.
There is a widely held belief in the western world that the conflict in Sierra Leone was initiated and perpetuated because of diamonds, the country’s most important mineral resource. According to this version, the RUF, backed by Charles Taylor and the NPFL, initiated an armed rebellion in Sierra Leone to gain control of its diamond resources. In the years following the initial attack, it is alleged, the proceeds from an illicit diamond trade enabled the RUF to finance its war effort through the purchase of weapons abroad.
In the Commission’s view, this version of the conflict is simplistic. It fails to capture numerous complexities, the reasons for the decay of the state in Sierra Leone and the role minerals played prior to and during the conflict. It also does not reflect what unfolded on the ground in Sierra Leone. There were multiple causes of the conflict and reasons for the involvement of Liberian and other foreign actors. Although it is true that the RUF partly financed its war effort through diamond trafficking, diamonds did not yield significant revenues for the movement before 1997.
Simply put, diamonds were both an indirect cause of the war in Sierra Leone and a fuelling factor. As an indirect cause, the misapplication of the diamond resources in a country with a practically ‘single-product’ economy (diamonds) created huge disparities in the socio-economic conditions of people. While the elite and their business cohorts in the diamond industry enjoyed grandeur and affluence, poor people living in deprived communities rued how the collective common wealth had been appropriated by a few in the name of the many.
From the outset of the post-independence period, those in power plundered the state and its resources, putting self-enrichment before any form of real development or accountability. Political power became a means to economic wealth and the predatory accumulation of the ruling elite led to the acquisition of state offices and resources for personal gain. This led to the ‘functional contraction’ of Sierra Leonean leadership, as it could no longer provide services to the people. The dispossessed and disenfranchised masses quickly began to ask questions as to the role and mission of their new political elite. Successive post-colonial governments mismanaged the diamond industry and placed its effective control in the hands of outsiders in a way that has not benefited the Sierra Leone economy. A culture of diamond smuggling and embezzlement has been entrenched among key members of the political elite. Meanwhile, labour conditions in the mines are appalling, with many children still being used as miners.
During the conflict, diamonds were highly coveted because they yielded tremendous revenues, which enabled armed factions to procure arms and ammunition. Possession of arms conferred power on the factions, allowing them to control large areas of the country and thus further exploit resources for economic purposes. The desire to capture more territory for exploitation subsequently became a major motivating factor for the armed groups and their commanders, triggering intense fighting in resource-rich parts of the country and fuelling the conflict in areas already engulfed by it.
The international diamond industry was largely indifferent to the origin of ‘conflict diamonds’, even when reports of atrocities relating to the conflict in Sierra Leone were widely disseminated in the global media. This indifference enabled the illicit trade in Sierra Leonean diamonds to flourish and thereby encouraged the prolongation of the conflict. Although the government of Sierra Leone has recently made progress in tackling diamond smuggling, largely due to the international introduction of the new Kimberley Certification Process (KCP), the problem is nowhere near to being eradicated.
The KCP has two major weaknesses: there is no global mechanism to monitor each member’s national certification system and countries with no diamond resources have been accepted as members. Resource Cursed: Where mineral wealth benefits only the few Resource-rich governments tend to use low tax rates and patronage to dampen democratic pressures and spend an unusually high proportion of their income in internal security. Countries earning a substantial share of their income from export of primary commodities are significantly more at risk of conflict. While the causes of war and the collapse of basic services are many and varied, there is nevertheless a clear link, in Africa and elsewhere, between mineral resource extraction, conflict and failing states. During the last two decades, Africa has become the most conflict-affected region in the world, with the bleakest prospect for development. Worldwide, it is estimated that so-called ‘resource wars’ have killed or displaced over 20 million people and raised at least $12 billion a year for rebels, warlords and repressive governments.
Governance and conflict problems relating to mineral resources and the resulting poor social indicators exist, for example, in Algeria, Angola, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Statistical data confirms the implications of this kind of resource abundance for children’s lives. Such mineral resource-rich countries have significantly worse GDP growth than their resource-poor counterparts. Nigeria for instance showed a decline in per capita GDP from 1975 to 2000 (-0. %) (See table 1). Child development indicators in one of Africa’s major oil-producing countries Nigeria, reflects this trend- infant mortality rates, for example, remain significantly below the average for developing countries. Unfortunately, HIV/AIDS almost certainly accounts for Botswana’s higher infant mortality rate (in 1998 it was 38 per 1000 live births). Table 1: Comparison of development performance between Nigeria and Botswana rich in oil, gas and minerals. |GDP per capita annual |Public health expenditure|Public education |Infant Mortality rate | | |growth rate (%, |(% of GDP, 1998) |expenditure (% of GNP, |(per thousand live | | |1975-2000) | |1995-97) |births, 2000) | |Nigeria |-0. 7 |0. 8 |0. 7 |110 | |Botswana |5. 1 |2. |8. 6 |74 | Source: UNDP Human Development Report 2002 | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | Resource Winners: Where mineral wealth benefits the many
Mineral resources can bring enormous benefits to a country and its people. The key lies in good governance in the public interest. Mineral resource-rich countries in Africa that have become growth ‘winners’ include Botswana, South Africa. Below is a case study example of two countries in Africa where mineral resources wealth have benefited the bulk of the population. Case study example I: Botswana However, Botswana may be the most significant example, for other developing countries in Africa and beyond, of the good use of mineral resources.
While there are important differences between countries rich in oil/gas and those rich in other minerals (the latter is less prone to overheating their economies for example), a case such as Botswana is useful in isolating those government policies that facilitate the most fair and effective use of mineral resources revenues for the benefit of the whole population. Botswana stands out as the only graduate from the World Bank-created category of ‘least developed countries’ (LDC). At independence in 1966, it was one of the poorest countries of the world- it is now classified as an upper-middle income developing economy.
It has had the highest rate of annual growth of any country in the world – an average of 12. 3% GDP per capita over 20 of the 35 years since the country’s diamond cache was discovered. By 2000, GDP per capita stood at US$ 4,076 – 11 times that of Nigeria. This meteoric rise was fuelled by the discovery in 1967 of profitable deposits of diamonds, which triggered a process of structural change from an economy dependent on low productivity agriculture to an economy where mining and services became the dominant sectors. This has been achieved despite the presence of initial adverse conditions (e. g. inimal investment and high inequality) shared by post-colonial African countries that have suffered from the “resource curse”(Renner, 2002). The country is now one of the biggest producer if diamonds in the world. Some US$ 1. 7 billion worth of diamonds was mined in 1999, and this figure is expected to climb significantly. Over the years, Botswana has been able to earn an unprecedented US$ 6. 5 billion in foreign exchange reserves. Much of this has been invested in public services. Botswana has the second highest public spending on education and public health in the world, as a proportion of GNP (see table 1 for figures).
It spent approximately US$ 77 per capita on public health in 1998. Improvements to under 5 mortality have been spectacular, falling from 13. 9 per cent in 1970 to 4. 8 percent in 1998, with an average of 99 per cent of births attended by skilled health staff between 1995 and 2000. This compares to Nigeria, which spent close to US$ 3 per capita on public health in 1998. Under five mortality only declined from 20. 1 per cent in 1970 to 18. 7 percent in 1998 (UNDP report, 2002). Fair elections have been held in Botswana every five years since independence. What Botswana has is transparency.
Diamonds account for more than 65 per cent of all government revenue and there is great transparency over this diamond income. According to Transparency International’s 2003 Global Corruption Report, Botswana is the most transparent country on the African continent. Transparency in tax and royalty receipts has put onus on the government to widen the circle of beneficiaries beyond public officials, politicians and the diamond industry’s narrow employment base. It is clear that the country’s economic success derives more from efficient and transparent management of its diamond revenues than their mere presence.
UNCTAD allots a ‘good part of the credit for its performance” to “the wise management of natural resources and good governance, enabling political and economic stability to prevail” (UNCTAD, 2002:19). Case study Example II: South Africa The Republic of South Africa (RSA) is the only country with a strong and long-lasting mining tradition in the sub-Sahara Africa that has successfully developed its minerals industry as the backbone of its economy, including the agriculture sector. It should be noted that the mining industry is fully integrated into the domestic economy with minimal foreign exchange content n the cost of operations. The country posses efficient and competitive import-substitution industries, and the minerals and metals exporting companies are net foreign exchange earners. There are no “enclave” or “offshore” transnational enterprises in the RSA. The government regulates and intervenes to rescue the industry during bad times and participates in the revenue via royalties, not by equity holdings. This makes investment climate very attractive, in spite of political instability. In summary, it is clear that the presence of mineral resources has the potential to bring great social and economic development.
But it can stimulate conflict and/or the collapse of key social services and economic growth. The key lies in the governance of those reserves. Governments, extractive companies and civil society all have key roles to play in this governance. “Blood Diamonds” and Africa’s armed conflicts The end of the cold war and its bipolar-based international security regime, which was characterized by the ideological and geoterritoral struggles between the United States and the former Soviet Union has engendered profound changes, challenges, and constraints for many postcolonial African countries.
The absence of any major ideological contestation between the East and the West has failed in the short-term to generate the anticipated “peace dividend” for several conflict-ridden and war devastated African states. The plethora of armed conflicts, civil wars, and brutal struggles for control over financial revenues and territories of “blood diamonds” have exacerbated Africa’s postcolonial socioeconomic and political problems.
These military skirmishes and cross-border rebel incursions have unleashed a catastrophic humanitarian tragedy for many citizens and for the neighbouring countries of Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The net effects of these armed conflicts-induced, fueled and funded by mineral resources-have been the proliferation of chronic regional insecurity, the intensification of border states’ hostilities, and acute internal political instability of many states in southern, central, and western African sub regions.
In short, the current post-cold war era has presented new challenges and complexities, engendered more paradoxes, and precipitated both political instability and serious regional security dilemmas for several conflict-ridden modern African countries. The term “blood diamonds” specifically refers to diamonds that are extracted and exported from particular regions in sub-Saharan Africa that are still ravaged by vicious armed conflicts.
These civil wars and brutal armed conflicts usually are instigated by intransigent warlords, renegade militias, and rebel groups that depend on the illegal sale of blood diamonds in exchange for military weapons, guns, fuel, and assorted war materials such as land mines. These savage wars perpetuate regional destabilization, cross-border military incursions, and acute internal political instability, and they also have unleashed a major humanitarian refugee catastrophe in parts of postcolonial Africa. “ Depending on which estimates are used, blood diamonds represent 4 to 15 per cent of the world’s US$ 6. billion annual diamond production (Orogun, 2004). In this paper, I focus on the relevance and the multidimensional impact of blood diamonds on the persistent socioeconomic, geopolitical, and territorial fragmentation or de facto balkanization of Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in the recent past. In these four sub-Saharan African states, protracted internal and interstate-armed conflicts have been triggered, sustained, and funded by the economic imperative of capturing and monopolizing territorial control over the lucrative diamond producing areas. In Angola’s protracted civil war, for example, Diamond money paid for UNITA offensives that in the 1990s elevated Angola’s civil war to a new plateau of savagery. At Andulo, UNITAs headquarters in the central highlands of Angola, Mr. Savimbi personally haggled with arms merchants and diamond traders who flew in from Europe. He bargained using small bags of diamonds, each of which contained several dollars worth of gems, according to Robert Fowler, the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations and Chairman of a committee that investigated violations of the embargo against UNITA”(Orogun emphasis, 2004). It should be emphasized that at the height of the cold war era, countries uch as Angola, Zaire or Democratic Republic of Congo, and Liberia were perceived as major strategic “trophies” or areas of vital interests in the polarized ideological and regional balance of power politics. During the cold war, for example, Angola’s National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebel movement was branded as “freedom fighters,” champions of democratic dispensation, and aspirants of the capitalist, free-market enterprise. On the other hand, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was branded as an “Afro-Socialist-Marxist” regime that was backed by the former Soviet Union.
In Zaire, ex-dictator Mobutu Sese Seko was perceived as a key regional ally of the United States, France, and other Western European countries. In the context of the cold war geostrategic matrix, the apartheid regime in South Africa overtly colluded with the UNITA rebels in Angola and received diplomatic support from Zaire and the United States, premised on the Real Politik security imperative that was anchored on the shared commitment of fomenting and fostering a policy of regional destabilization within the territorial boundaries of so-called Afro-Marxist regimes.
With the end of the cold war, the UNITA rebels in Angola lost substantive political, military, and economic support from Washington, Paris, and Pretoria. Henceforth, UNITA rebel leader late Jonas Savimbi was deemed an international pariah and a brutal warlord who continued to violate the sanctions that were imposed by the UN Security Council with regard to clandestine guns trafficking and the illegal sale of blood diamonds in Angola. Diamond smuggling and gun running therefore constitute the pivotal independent variables that help to explain the longevity, ferociousness, and intractability of the twenty-seven-year-old civil war.
The evidence available indeed is overwhelmingly compelling. Mineral resources and development Africa is almost certainly endowed with enormous mineral resources, yet to be discovered. Exploration for these mineral resources has not been conducted in a systematic manner since independence in the sub-Saharan countries. As such, the full impact of the minerals industry sector on the economies of these countries has been minimal or non-existent. The countries that could boast of a significant mineral industry sector are: Botswana, Ghana, Guinea, DRC, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Republic of South Africa: including oil, Nigeria, Gabon and Angola.
These countries, however, had a mining tradition during the colonial times and in several cases even before. Some governments built strong geological surveys, mining, and metallurgical departments, which conducted geological mapping and exploration of unknown mineral deposits for allocation to mining companies for development and exploration. The mining leases granted by the colonial government virtually gave the companies’ perpetual mineral rights and tenure on very disadvantageous terms to the colonies.
Upon the attainment of independence, these countries enacted new mining laws, which vested the mineral resources in the state. The countries therefore achieved sovereign rights over the mineral deposits (including petroleum and natural gas) with a view to exploiting these resources, this time more to benefit the sovereign nations. However, with exception of the RSA and recently Botswana, none of the sub-Saharan countries can boast of a strong and viable minerals industry sector in their economies that could contribute to sustainable development in the coming decades.
So far, attempts to develop the mineral resources of these countries have been limited to half-hearted policy reforms and the enactment of mining legislation and investment codes, which have failed to attract the necessary investment in the minerals industry sector. Many factors have contributed to the poor economic performance of the minerals industry sector of the sub-Saharan countries. Many constraining factors have contributed to the near-stagnation of the development of the minerals industry in the sub-Saharan economies.
These factors occur in varying degrees from country to country, but those that are fundamental and common to all the countries are identified briefly below: # A lack of investment in systematic geological mapping and exploration, and inadequate technical data on the mineral endowment; # A weak institutional and policy framework for mineral development and exploitation; # Inadequate fiscal and financial regimes for mining development; # Poorly developed infrastructural bases, including transportation, communications, and engineering services; A lack of cheap, reliable energy resources for industrial projects; # The deterioration of the economic performance of the sub-Saharan countries, exacerbated by deteriorating terms of trade and inadequate pricing of primary mineral commodities produced by these countries; # The unusually high cost of capital for mining projects in the region compared with the capital cost of similar mining projects in South East Asia, Australia and South America; # The perception by the international mining community of an unstable “investment climate,” political instability, and corruption in sub-Saharan Africa; The scarcity of indigenous professional and technical manpower capable of formulating viable policy reforms, estimating the feasibility of mineral development projects, or negotiating equitable joint-venture mining agreements with transnational corporations. Despite these difficulties, the sub-Saharan countries should be able to develop their mineral resources as an ‘engine’ for sustainable growth and in an environmentally friendly manner. However, African countries are yet to develop rich mineral resources and exploit them for industrialization and sustained growth.
The World Bank (1989:122) describes the “relative mineral abundance” as a “mixed blessing” to many African countries. It could also be described as a situation of poverty in the midst of plenty! However, failure to develop the full potential of the minerals industry in the sub-Saharan economies is not entirely the fault of the governments concerned. Certain important exogenous factors have also contributed to the near-stagnation of the development agenda of the African countries. For the past 20 years, Africa has missed the investment boom of international finance in mineral exploration and development.
Most of the mining investments have been directed away from Africa to South America, Canada, Australia, and Papua New Guinea, and the fast-growing countries of South-East Asia. Some of these apparently more attractive countries have little comparative advantage in terms of political stability. In fact, there is evidence that many of the transnational corporations that were operating profitably in Africa during colonial times pulled out of Africa just before or immediately after independence to invest in mining ventures elsewhere.
Fortunately for sub-Saharan Africa, many of the ventures have failed in those countries and the Africa region has another opportunity to attract the transnational corporations back to the very high-grade near-surface ore deposits of the continent that they virtually abandoned more than 30 years ago. The country most likely to offer stiff competition for scarce mining venture capital over the next few years is Australia. In today’s sub-Saharan Africa investors will find the host countries more realistic in asserting their sovereign rights over natural resources.
The private sector will be encouraged to participate in the development of mineral resources without undue intervention from the state. Governments are more prepared to confine themselves to the roles of good landlord and regulator of the industry. Investment codes have been enacted that have entrenched in them special benefits and incentives for investing in the mining sector. The way forward The strategy to addressing the resource capture conflicts in Africa is for African governments to resist pressures and reposition themselves in the global order.
Also, national institutions and the various pillars of governments must live up to their responsibility in order to prevent the abuse of power. African governments succumb to investment policies that are not sensitive to the developmental priorities of their people through policy lobby mostly carried out by international financial institutions, in particular the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund, in collaboration with some Northern Governments.
The second is pressure and arm-twisting by home governments of transnational corporations, which often take place at diplomatic levels and international forums in the form of threat of economic measures or promise of economic benefits in order to create space for corporations. The third level is corporate corrupt and token behaviour often in the form of promises and petty donations. To reverse the trend, African governments should reflect, unite and reposition the continent in the global economic order, which would allow them to reap the benefits of their environmental and mineral resources.
The repositioning requires that governments should adopt and implement policies and programmes, which address the developmental needs and priorities of the people while ensuring environmental diversity. Any plans to increase mineral resource exploitation whether through foreign or domestic investment must be guided by a national vision to maximizing net benefits, minimizing environmental cost, and ensuring a right-based approach to mineral extraction.
Perhaps, a unified mining policy under sub-regional frameworks that avoids the current race to the bottom is one of the options. Regulatory and democratic structures must live up to their responsibility. For instance, national democratic institutions such as parliaments should be able to assert their autonomy within the democratic dispensation and vet mineral sector bilateral investment agreements to ensure that such agreements comply with the aspirations of the people and the national vision as a whole.
A combination of these would provide confidence among the population and help minimize resource capture conflicts on the continents. Conclusions The presence of mineral resources has the potential to bring great social and economic development. But it can stimulate conflict and/or the collapse of key social services and economic growth. The key lies in the governance of those reserves. Governments, extractive companies and civil society all have key roles to play in this governance.
There is need therefore to institute a rational, pragmatic, and above all, realistic policy reform in sub-Saharan Africa for the sustained exploration and development of its mineral resources for the creation of wealth on an exponential basis to sustain the improved well-being of its longsuffering population and for the survival of future generations. What sub-Saharan Africa has experienced so far is the decay of economies supervised by incompetent governments, the majority of which have no democratic mandate to rule their people.
I refuse to believe that Africa cannot succeed. Given the right political atmosphere, free from utopian and unworkable foreign ideologies, the intelligent and enterprising people of Africa, at all levels of society, can and should be allowed to develop the economy for sustained growth. Africa is not short of intelligent, capable and experienced people. They have been prevented from participating in the development process for the past 30 odd years, during which private initiative, entrepreneurship, and the private sector of the economies were destroyed.
I pray that it will not take too long to rebuild the mineral resources sector and bring African countries back to the path of sustainable development and social equity. References Danielson, L. , 2004. Mining and Minerals: Breaking New Ground. In Bigg T (ed), 2004. Survival for a Small Planet. The Sustainable Development Agenda. IIED, Earthscan: London, Sterling VA. Oyawoye, M. O. , 2005. Mineral Resources and Development in Africa. Available online: http://www. springerlink. com/content/v50g0280310t3447/ [accessed 23rd Nov. 2006] Quashie, L A K. , 1992.
The Case for Mineral Resources Management and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Renner, M. , 2002. The Anatomy of Resource Wars. World watch Institute, Washington D. C. UNDP Human Development Report, 2002. Available at http://hdr. undp. org/default. cfm. [accessed 25th Nov. 2006]. UNCTAD Investment Policy Review: Botswana, Geneva, September 2002, p. 19. World Bank, 1989. Sub-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth. Washington DC: World Bank – 1992. Strategy for African Mining. Technical Paper no. 181. Washington D. C. World Bank.