Africa is well endowed with mineral resources and has a long history of mining, but has so far not reaped the full developmental benefits from these resources. The enclave nature of mining has been attributed to among others weak linkages with other sectors of the economy, particularly the limited or lack of downstream value addition and upstream linkages in the provision of mining capital goods, inputs and services. As a result, Africa has been losing immense opportunities to effectively advance socio-economic development and fight poverty. The Africa Mining Vision (AMV), adopted by the Heads of State and Government in February 2009, seeks to change this status quo. The Vision advocates for “Transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development”. The origins of the AMV can be traced back to 1979 through several declarations and treaties. Subsequently, an Action Plan to implement the AMV was adopted by Africa’s Ministers responsible for mineral resources development, in December 2011. The African Minerals Development Centre was launched on 16th December 2013, in Maputo, Mozambique as the AMV implementing agency.
THE AFRICAN MINING VISION COMPACT
The African Mining Vision compact is premised on the basis that the Africa Mining Vision is a continental policy framework adopted by all the 54 AU member countries, but the successful implementation hinges on the buy-in and participation by the private sector and other key stakeholders in Africa, at both regional and country levels. The AMV Compact is based on principles that are aligned with corporate core values, policies, strategic plans and mission statements of companies in the extractive sector.
Above all, the underlying drivers for cooperation are the business benefits that the private sector will derive from AMV implementation in Member Countries and in Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Its effective implementation should contribute to strengthening companies’ social license to operate. The compact is primarily targeting mining companies including oil and gas, Chambers of Mines and other mining associations.
Mining companies are increasingly being measured against good economic, environmental and corporate social performance, the triple bottom line approach. Indeed, the quest for ‘sustainability’ has led to demands
for fairness from African countries’ stakeholders. Recognizing that the extractives sector is characterized by complex relationships and competing demands, rights, and claims from governments, local communities, civil society on one hand and private companies on the other, it has become essential to build a consensus on what constitutes ‘shared value’ and ‘shared benefits’ and how to secure a social license to operate in the 21st century.