November 23, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Deputy Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources has stated that Africa possesses huge natural resources wealth that has the potential of dragging the continent out of poverty and transform it way to sustainable development and prosperity.
Abdul Ignosi Koroma was speaking at Hotel Barmoi on Monday (November 21) during the opening ceremony of a three-day advocacy and capacity building workshop on Africa Mining Vision organised by Network Movement for Justice and Development NMJD, Tax Justice Network Arica, Africa Centre for Energy Policy and Oxfam.
“It is evident that Africa possesses huge natural resources wealth that has the potential to drag this continent out of poverty and set it on its way to sustainable development and prosperity,” he said but stressed that harnessing such potential has been challenging, thereby producing mix result.
According to him, transforming wealth underground to wealth on top has not always been smooth and rosy and that in some cases, extractive resources have generated sufficient revenues that have paid for massive development projects, build towns and cities and accelerate economic growth.
He claimed that exploitation of minerals have resulted in huge environmental hazards and social tensions, while some resulted in protracted and deadly civil wars that destroyed lives of civilians and economies of many countries too.
Mr. Koroma reckoned that in order to break the cycle of resources, African Heads of State in 2009 adopted the African Mining Vision, which seeks to put the extractive sector at the heart of the continent’s long term and broad development objectives.
He opined that President Ernest Bai Koroma’s open governance initiative has been further strengthened by the bond of the working relationship between the government and the civil society sector, particularly regarding matters in the extractive sector.
He said the government was keen to unleash the potential of the extractive sector as a key driver of economic growth and poverty reduction, which they believe can only be achieved through deliberate and targeted decision-making processes that consider sustainable exploitation of the mineral resources, as well as mitigating the adverse environmental and social efforts inherent in the mineral extractive.
Earlier, NMJD Director, John Hardy Momoh said his organization was eager to see the country convert its natural resource endowments into lasting benefits, sustainable security and prosperity for its citizens through structural transformation and economic diversification for sustainable development.
He said natural resource governance was of universal concern, and of national urgency that needed to be given utmost sincere and concerted hosting by the government and its agencies.
“NMJD is in this because we have been the original voice in the campaign for responsible, beneficial and accountable natural resource governance since 2002,” he said.
Also speaking, Kwesi Obeng from Tax Justice Network Africa, said they would take the effort the country was making towards domesticating the African Mining Vision seriously.
He said the government required the input of the civil society organizations to move the project in the country forward.