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Governance of Africa’s Resources

Based in Cape Town, GARP provides advisory and research support to governments and other stakeholders on governing Africa’s natural resources to maximise their equitable and sustainable development contributions. Regular field research, policy convening and dialogue activities are led by GARP experts in the three focal areas of mining and development; energy and the green economy; and the governance of ecosystems and commons resources (including fisheries and forestry).

Increasingly acknowledged as an influential African voice on resource governance, the programme works closely with local, regional and other international partners, including through the SAIIA Change-Makers forum and the Governance of Africa’s Resources Research Network (GARN). Co-ordinated by GARP, the network facilitates capacity-building, knowledge-sharing and the up-scaling of research outputs beyond the respective national levels.

View a playlist of videos related to this programme on YouTube. Contact the programme on resourcegov[@]saiia.org.za.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Congo: the curse of riches

The Democratic Republic of Congo has witnessed another recent outbreak of violence related to the struggle over its rich natural resources. The central African country is faced with a dilemma which is frequently posed in Africa: Is there any way to turn the so-called ‘natural resource curse’ into a blessing?
Two International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conferences have recently taken place in quick succession. The first, an International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century held in St Petersburg Russia from 27 to 29 June 2013, saw the last minute withdrawal of both the Energy Minister and the CEO of Eskom.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has submitted an application to the Labour Court to prevent its loss of official recognition at the Lonmin platinum mines. They dispute the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU)’s claim to representing 70% of low-skilled workers now. That NUM is desperately contesting Lonmin’s plans to recognise AMCU is a destructive function of the institution of centralised bargaining.
In 2012, Africa lost an estimated $43-$46 billion to illicit financial flows (IFF). Calculated over time, the size of this “shadow financial system” is staggering. For instance, between 1980 and 2009 the continent is estimated to have lost around US$1.3 trillion. This is according to a report by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) released in May 2013.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 150, June 2013
The recent global conference of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), convened in Sydney from 23-24 May 2013, provided an opportunity for the EITI board to adopt and launch the EITI Standard, a new set of membership criteria and reporting standards aimed at strengthening the contribution of the EITI to improved governance of extractive industries.
Biofuels have been heralded as a solution to the world’s dependence on hydrocarbons and are promoted under international carbon trading schemes as a mitigation tool for climate change – impelling first world governments to incorporate biofuels into energy mandates for transport industries. Due to the amount of land needed to grow biofuel crops such as jatropha, sugarcane and oil palm, the biofuels market has given rise to a rush to buy up the world’s farmland.
Increasingly assertive in continental politics and highly visible in a number of key global regulatory frameworks for the extractive sector, observers continue to wonder why South Africa (SA) remains conspicuously absent from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This year marks the tenth anniversary of the framework as it does the Kimberley Process, another high-profile international regulatory scheme in which South Africa plays an instrumental role in preventing conflict minerals from entering the international diamonds supply chains through certification.
Since the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994, Pretoria’s relationship with Nigeria has been a mix of rivalry, tension and cooperation. The pattern of interaction has oscillated from President Mandela’s principled stance against General Sani Abacha’s dictatorship in the late 1990s, to close and effective engagement between Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo during the last decade. Under Presidents Jacob Zuma and Goodluck Jonathan, relations reached a low-point with the two continental powers unable to reach agreement on the chairmanship of the African Union Commission in 2012.
The South African deployment in the Central African Republic (CAR) which created a political firestorm at home, came to a precipitous end when President Zuma announced the forces’ withdrawal on 3 April. Beyond the official explanation which centred on a bilateral military cooperation agreement, unpacking the real rationale behind South Africa’s involvement requires a closer reading of a new African geopolitical script of which Pretoria is very much a part. Such a reading must consider the economic (largely resource) interests that forced the long unstable central African country back into the global media spotlight this past month.
The furore surrounding the mislabelling of meat products in Europe has now also reached South Africa’s shores, with a recent study finding that 99 of 139 meat samples from South African wholesalers and retailers contained species not declared in the product label. The samples included donkey, goat and water buffalo meat.
On 25 February 2013 Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu announced that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) had acceded to the Platinum Sector Peace and Stability Accord, an agreement signed the previous week between government, mining houses and labour aimed at bringing an end to the turmoil in South Africa’s platinum sector. With all major stakeholders now signatory to the agreement, is this the beginning of a return to normality in the platinum sector?
2013 sees South African cities play host to a number of international events. The African Mining Indaba was held in Cape Town earlier this month, and Durban will soon host the much anticipated BRICS Summit this coming March. This week its Johannesburg’s turn to host the Africa Energy Indaba (19 – 21 February 2013), a regional event of the World Energy Council (WEC). The Indaba brings together leading decision makers, role players and experts to discuss how best to plan and develop Africa’s energy future.
31 January 2013: Islamist insurgents retreating from Timbuktu recently set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless historic manuscripts, according to the Saharan town's mayor, in an incident he described as a "devastating blow" to world heritage. SAIIA's Dr. Oladiran (Ola) Bello speaks with Voice of Russia's Yekaterina Kudashkina on why the insurgents have burnt these ancient Muslim manuscripts. Listen to the interview [Duration: 5min 45sec]
Various government, business and civil society representatives gather in Cape Town today for the 19th Annual Investing in Africa Mining Indaba (4 -7 February 2013). The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) will be monitoring discussions and events around the Indaba. Through its Governance of Africa’s Resources Programme, the institute has contributed to the policy discourse on mining issues on the African continent.
On the eve of the 2013 Mining Indaba, resource nationalism remains a serious investment risk which threatens both foreign investors and resource-producing states alike. With growing attention devoted to the subject, it appears that assertive resource-exporting countries in Africa risk alienating international capital. In newly resource-rich states and older producers alike, some proposals ostensibly aimed at maximising society’s benefits from resource extraction have spooked investors. Much discussion at the Indaba this week will touch on the disparate experiences often termed resource nationalism, but it is worth reflecting on what the term really means.
On Sunday 16 December 2012 the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s governing party, will descend on Mangaung to begin its 53rd National Elective Conference. Much of the discourse in the run-up to the anticipated meeting has centred on South Africa’s political economy and what, if anything, the conference can do to address the political quagmire, economic malaise and social instability now besetting the country.
The governance of Africa's natural resources continues to be a heatedly discussed topic. Alex Benkenstein, a senior researcher with SAIIA, speaks with leading researchers about their views on the key issues that need to be addressed to achieve effective governance of Africa’s natural resources. Watch the video [Duration: 8min 16sec] Download the podcast [Duration: 9min 41sec]
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 60, November 2012
The nationalisation of resources has been the subject of heated debate in recent months, both within Africa and beyond. Abroad, the Canadian government’s recent refusal to accept a foreign buy-out of a locally-owned gas exploration company has raised eyebrows. At home, emotive exchanges over the possible nationalisation of the mining sector have dominated the public discourse in the run-up to Mangaung.
South African Institute of International Affairs cordially invites you to a Roundtable Discussion on Sustainable Prosperity: New Challenges for Natural Resource Governance Theory in Africa Date: Tuesday, 27 November 2012 Time: 09h00-16h00 (Registration 08h30 to 08h50) Venue: Jan Smuts House, East Campus, Wits University, Johannesburg Parking: Parking is available on both sides of Jan Smuts House and the surrounding area
International climate change talks will kick off in Qatar today (26 November). The next two weeks will witness intense negotiations at the eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) between the UN and leaders from around the globe about the future of the climate change regime.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 59, November 2012
Minerals as a catalyst for growth and development was the key focus of the Eighth African Development Forum, 23-25 October 2012. Under the title 'Governing and Harnessing Natural Resources for Africa’s Development', the meeting sought to highlight the role that Africa’s natural resources can play in the continent’s economic transformation and socio-economic development.
The African Development Forum (ADF) is a biennial event hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the AU Commission, the African Development Bank, and other partners. The theme of the eighth ADF, concluded recently in Addis Ababa on 23-25 October 2012, was “Governing and Harnessing Natural Resources for Africa’s Development.” The forum focussed on key natural resource sectors on the continent, namely mining, forestry, fisheries and land.
A SAIIA researcher, Romy Chevallier, will be attending the eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) on climate change over the next two weeks. She will be available to provide some commentary, updates and analysis from Doha. Other SAIIA staff specialising in climate change and African resources will also be available, based in Cape Town.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 57, October 2012