Local communities must prosper from Africa’s natural resources

We all benefit from an Africa that is prosperous, stable, and fair.

With high-level policy makers and business people gathering in Cape Town for this year’s African Mining Indaba, the Africa Progress Panel calls on the political and business leaders of Africa’s extractive industries to ensure a fairer deal for the communities affected by their work.

We recognise and welcome the effort being made by some companies to become more transparent with their tax payments, to develop local capacity, jobs, and business, and to build critical infrastructure in such a way that it opens up new economic opportunity.

Likewise we respect progress from those governments who have worked hard to make their industries more transparent: publishing contracts and working hard to comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

But progress is often lacking. Political and business leaders must decide which side of history they wish to stand. Tax avoidance and evasion, unfair contracts, and secrecy around company ownership and revenue flows, remain major concerns that prevent African (and other) citizens from benefitting from the resources beneath their feet.

Mining can be a force for a good. Or it can be a missed opportunity. Corruption, political instability, and the failure to create enough jobs and opportunities for our continent’s rapidly growing youth population will affect us all.

We urge today’s leaders to keep the future in mind, to ensure a fairer deal for local communities, to whom the natural resources belong. We all benefit from an Africa that is prosperous, stable, and fair.

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