As Africa tries to grapple with the paradox of great mineral wealth existing side by side with pervasive poverty, journalists on the continent have been urged to provide necessary oversights so that commitments made by governments are kept.
A senior official with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) implored the journalists to be part of the debate on mining, and how Africa can maximise the development outcomes of mineral resources exploitation.
Antonio Pedro, Director at the ECA sub-regional office for Eastern Africa based in Kigali, Rwanda, said it is critical that the media, parliaments and the civil society get involved and highlight things that are not working, instead of leaving the debate to governments and the private sector.
Pedro spoke Sunday while addressing journalists in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at a one-day media workshop ahead of the Eighth African Development Forum (ADF-VIII) scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
“You are a very important pillar of our efforts to try and promote development on the continent. Our efforts to try and disseminate the vision (Africa Mining Vision), we cannot do it without the media, you are very important partner to ensure that the vision is known, it is disseminated and you make your governments accountable to their commitments,” he said.
The three-day ADF-VIII will be held under the theme “Governing and harnessing natural resources for Africa’s development.”
According to UNECA, the theme was chosen because of Africa’s abundant natural resources which are yet to contribute to its broad based development. In many parts of the continent, poverty co-exists with natural resources wealth.
The Forum will underscore the importance of natural resources in the broader social and economic development processes in Africa.
It will also focus on mineral, land, timber and fishery resources and the potential role they can play in fostering growth and structural economic transformation on the continent.
The Africa Mining Vision is the continent’s response to tacking the contradiction of great mineral wealth existing side by side with pervasive poverty.
The vision is informed by the outcomes of several initiatives and efforts made at sub-regional, continental and global levels to formulate policy and regulatory frameworks to maximise the development outcomes of mineral resources exploitation