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SarWatch Writer
Civil Society Africa Mining Vision Conference: Evaluation of the AMV Ten Years in Existence

As part of its resource diplomacy and capacity development programmes, the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) in partnership with Third World Network (TWN), Tax Justice Network -Africa (TJN), Publish What You Pay (PWY, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) and the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) will host the Civil Society Africa Mining Vision (AMV) Conference. The conference will take place from 23rd to 25th October 2019 at the Southern Sun Hotel, Hyde Park, Sandton, South Africa. In recent years, efforts have been made by several countries and regional blocs (SADC, ECOWAS and EAC) have put in place strategies and policies to materialise the objectives of the AMV. These interventions have taken different forms with some developing country mining visions and other reviewing mining legislation in contesting internal and external terrains.

 

The AMV attains 10 years of its adoption by the AU Heads of state and Government in 2019 as an agreed development framework to transform the management of the continent ‘s diverse and abundant mineral resources. The AMV, which envisages an African “mining sector that catalyses & contributes to the broad-based growth and development” represents a paradigm shift away from the liberal FDI dependent and resource rent centred strategy, which has governed African mining for the past three decades. It seeks improvements in mineral sector governance across the whole mining value chain through a multifaceted framework which has strategic pillars which include;

  1. respect for and protection of human rights and the environment.
  2. greater democratic engagement with and accountability of governments and mining companies to citizens.
  3. It also wants an increased role for local actors in the mining industry, including mainstreaming of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM).

Whilst recognizing the need to improve the fiscal regime of mining, the AMV strives for broad-based industrialization and structural transformation of Africa’s mineral dependent economies. The industrialization plank, dependent on diversification and the establishment of linkages within and beyond the mining sector, represents the AMV’s most ambitious objective. The AMV is generally accepted as the most progressive vision that can help transform African economies to benefit from its mineral resources yet to date the vision still faces a big implementation challenge. Despite progress made in setting up the Africa Mineral Development Center (AMDC) as an implementing arm of the AMV, the Centre is hosted by the African Union and thus take time before it becomes fully functional. An implementation tool of the AMV which is the Africa Mineral Governance Framework (AMGF), has also been developed with strong input from civil society which is also facing its own operational challenges on the methodology approach for its implementation and how to measure its impact.

There is a strong possibility that if no work is done by other partners, to push for the commitment towards the implementation of the AMV at country, regional and continual level, it will die a slow but natural death. It is for this reason that the consortium of civil society organisations has joined efforts to consider ways to ensuring the AMV becomes a reality. The conference is meant to evaluate the implementation of the AMV in member countries and whether it is influencing changes in the discourse on resource management. Importantly, Civil Society Africa Mining Vision Conference is meant to identify emerging best practices, challenges, and renew commitment to this important continental vision. This conference is a follow up to the conference that SARW and TWN organised in Zambia in 2014. At this meeting, civil society evaluated 5 years of AMV implementation and performance of the AMDC and governments and set out some demands. What has happened in between 2014 and to date?

Since then civil society has played an active and important role in promoting the vision and ensuring its visibility through public and stakeholder awareness and lobbying activities for its implementation. Some of the achievements include the Alternative Mining Indaba which has adopted and discussed the AMV framework and various organisations in their programming. At the country levels, several actors from communities, labour, women organisations, extractive industries platforms, social movement and civil society organisation have integrated the vison in their work in the form of country mining visions.

The Civil Society AMV Conference seeks to solidify efforts to keep the vision alive by discussing how civil society can continue contributing towards its promotion, implementation and actualisation. The goal of the meeting is to rebuild civil society’s commitment to the AMV. This meeting will have three overarching objectives:

  1. Defining the role and responsibility of civil society in the implementation of the AMV.
  2. Agenda setting of short- and medium-term strategies to support the implementation of the AMV.
  3. Agreeing on areas of intervention and defining the substance.

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