the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) is the first attempt in recent times by African
Leaders to take stock of the mineral resources on the continent, there are
critical weaknesses that must be addressed.
consensus emerged from a plenary discussion on the subject at the Bench Marks
Foundation’s annual meeting in Johannesburg this week. Questions on weaknesses
such as whether the AMV represents a truly alternative path for development for
and how corporations will be made to account for their actions were debated by
delegates from Africa.
Freek Cronje, Director of the Bench Marks Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility
(CSR) a t the Potchefstroom Campus of the North West University,
the objective of the AMV is for transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation
of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and development.
although the AMV has been documented, its implementation is problematic,” said
Cronje. “It talks about transparency, but how much access does the general public
really have to the operations of both public and private institutions? How
transparent will it ever be?
respect of human rights issues, what exactly are the plans for adopting the UN
Guiding principles on human rights and businesses?
AMV part of the solution for the continent or just a problem?”
Susane Matale, the Chairperson of the Federation of Christian Council of South
Africa (FOCCISA) and an ordained minister of the African Methodist Episcopal
Church, said that
although the AMV is trying to achieve a win-win situation, the devil was in the
that in order to achieve the aims of the AMV, the first issue to be resolved
was that of good governance. In her opinion, Africa needed leadership that was
capable and visionary. She blamed leaders of government for playing to the tune
of investors and responding to their demands thereby ignoring the needs of its
to the Bench Marks Foundation and delegates, corporations make profits from African
mining and extractives and freely export the production and profits out of the
continent. There is no political will from the governments or elected
politicians and parliaments to consolidate African monitoring institutions which
will ensure that corporations working in Africa, play by the rules and are
accountable to the people of Africa.
organisation asked delegates whether the AMV presents a strategic opportunity
for African social movements to work together to monitor the vision as well as
to unite all actions, movements and resources against those exploiting the
continent. In addition, it asked what the role of churches is with regard to
Charles Kitima, a Catholic priest from Tanzania and based at the St Augustine University
of Tanzania, said his Church’s position was based on the brief received from
the Pope’s encyclical which calls for respect for creation. The Pope ascribed
the behaviours of humans as greedy and only concerned with profit-making,
exploiting creation for their selfish desires.
said that the Catholic Church believed that people should have power over their
natural resources and that the church had the duty to educate, encourage and change
mindsets. He strongly agreed with Bench Marks that organisations and churches
should work together to push the agenda with regard to some sort of minimum programme
with the AMV.
the discussions, the issue of the patriarchal nature of mining and the AMV was
brought up by Dr Salimah Valiani, Research Lead for WoMin- Africa Gender and Extractives
that population displacement is one of the social ills of the mining sector and
that the AMV did not deal with this issue sufficiently. It tried to provide a solution
by compensating those displaced but ignored the fact that only 5% of women have
title to land in sub Saharan Africa.
that the AMV therefore primarily gives compensation to men and traditional
rulers in control of land. “Although the Africa Mining Vision states that it is
holistic and thinks outside of the ‘mining box’, the majority of institutions
we deal with and that are here tend to disagree and feel it’s part of the
problem in the continent,” said David van Wyk, Lead Researcher for the Bench
and communities must see real and tangible benefits from mining. Women’s rights
must be taken into consideration and environmental and health issues dealt with
effectively and hastily."
Africa Mining Vision was adopted in February 2009 by Heads of State during the
African Union meeting. It came into being following a meeting in October 2008
of African Ministers responsible for Mineral Resources Development. It is meant
to be Africa’s response to tackling the paradox of great mineral wealth
existing side by side with
Marks Foundation monitors multinational corporations operation in Southern Africa
and the rest of the African continent to ensure that they meet minimum social,
environmental and economic standards and promotes an ethical and critical voice
on what constitutes corporate social responsibility.
information on the Bench Marks Foundation
access to all research reports, go to www.bench-marks.org.za
Bench Marks Foundation:
Marks Foundation is an independent non-governmental organisation mandated by
churches to monitor the practices of multi-national corporations to
they respect human rights;
that profit-making is not done at the expense of other interest groups; and
that those most negatively impacted upon are heard, protected and accommodated
within the business plans of the corporations.
Foundation was launched by the Rt Rev Dr Jo Seoka who chairs the organisation
and by member churches of the SACC in 2001.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s) and not do necessarily reflect the views of the AfricaFiles' editors and network members. They are included in our material as a reflection of a diversity of views and a variety of issues. Material written specifically for AfricaFiles may be edited for length, clarity or inaccuracies.
top of page
back to Resource Extraction page