African Union Commission attends the 35th Southern and Eastern Africa Minerals Centre Governing Council
Nairobi, Kenya 27 May 2015: The African Union Commission attended the 35th Southern and Eastern African Mineral Centre (SEAMIC) Governing Council meeting on 27th May 2015. The meeting was hosted by the Government of Kenya under the Ministry in Charge of Mineral Resources Development. The objective was to discuss key issues related to mineral resources development in Africa. The Commission took the opportunity to pay a curtsey visit to the President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta as a member of the Governing Council and Board of Directors of SEAMIC.
SEAMIC is an ISO 9001:2008 Certified Regional Centre of Excellence for mineral geological knowledge and information that was established in 1977 and hosted by the Government of Tanzania. Founder Member States are Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania, later on joined by the Comoros, Angola, Uganda, Kenya and Sudan. Membership is open to all other African countries and a few countries have confirmed or are in the process of joining including; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Nigeria.
During the meeting, Hon Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Mining referring to the Thabo Mbeki report, informed the President that Africa was losing to the tune of $150 billion per year mainly due to poorly negotiated, loop-sided contracts in the extractive industries, through tax evasion, price fixing by the multinational corporations.
He noted with concern that African countries are competing with each other when it comes to attracting investment instead of complementing each other and working together. He emphasized the need to harmonies policies, legal and fiscal regimes so that Africa can speak with one voice and benefit from her huge endowments of natural and mineral resources. He reiterated that while multinational companies were amassing super profits, royalties paid to African Countries are too small "peanuts". This was due to lack of coherent, robust policies, legal and fiscal regimes that are harmonized at regional and continental levels.
Hon Balala further informed the President H. E. Uhuru Kenyatta, that there was a need for Africa to have its own home grown African Extractive Industries Transparency mechanism which provides for multinational companies to be accountable to African countries. He argued that while African governments are accountable to their peoples, international governance initiatives such as Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) were not providing a framework for mutual accountability where the multinational companies were also accountable to African countries.
In concluding his brief, Hon Najib Balala requested the President to spearhead the implementation of the Africa Mining Vision, a continental vision that was endorsed by the AU Heads of State and Government in 2009 to ensure that African countries optimally benefit from minerals and natural resources; to overturn the "Curse Paradox" and ensure that the mineral resources play their transformative role in the social and economic structural transformation of African economies as envisioned by the Agenda 2063 and the Common African Position (CAP) on post 2015 Development Agenda..
In his response H.E Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya thanked the Cabinet Secretary and the SEAMIC member States for the work well done and assured the SEAMIC Governing Council that he will spearhead the process of the implementation of the Africa Mining Vision to ensure that African Union Member States can develop and harmonise at regional and continental levels coherent policies, legal and fiscal regimes that can ensure optimal benefits from the God given natural and minerals resources.
He stressed that it was unacceptable for the multinational corporations to amass super profits while African member States and African people continue to live in abject poverty. He promised to raise the issue with his fellow Heads of State and Government during the forthcoming AU Heads of State and Government Summit due to take place on 14th June in South Africa.
Later on the Governing Council met and deliberated on a number of important issues related to the Minerals Resource development.
The Governing council meeting made very important and landmark decisions on mining as well as regarding the future of SEAMIC and the collaboration with the AUC and African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC). Among the key decisions that we made are the following: harmonization of policy regimes, AUC permanent membership of the Governing Council, the Change of the name from Southern and Eastern African Mineral Centre (SEAMIC) to African Mineral and Geoscience Center (AMGC) and confirmation of the new Director General, among others.
African Union Commission