Brussels, 14 February 2018 /ACP: Concrete strategies to enhance the transformative role of mining in African, Caribbean and Pacific economies were endorsed at a high level ministerial meeting in Brussels this week, targeting enhanced policy options, sustainable job creation and inter-sectoral linkages.

Moderated by former Prime Minister of the Republic of Guinea Kabine Komara, the High-Level Meeting on Mineral Resources and Development on 14 February gathered prominent entrepreneurs, experts and policy-makers from ACP countries under the theme “Building Synergies between the Africa Mining Vision and the ACP Framework of Action for the Development of Mineral Resources sector”.

The event was co-organised by the ACP Secretariat and the African Minerals Development Centre – a specialised arm of the African Union Commission hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to implement the African Mining Vision, and was preceded by a two-day meeting of senior officials.

In his opening remarks, ACP Secretary General H.E Dr Patrick Gomes underscored the importance of the discussions, given the current challenges and economic trends in ACP countries. For instance, with the African population expected to increase by roughly 50% over the next 18 years to over 1.8 billion in 2035, demands for mineral resources will also climb sharply to meet the need for additional housing units, roads, energy and other urban infrastructure using development minerals.

Meanwhile, eight Pacific island countries are among the 20 countries in the world with the highest average annual disaster losses measured by impact on GDP. Reconstruction and recovery efforts post-disaster have led to an exponential growth in demand for construction materials.

“In most ACP countries, growth rates are recorded due to the construction, mining and transport sectors. Interventions in this sector may be an effective way to help countries achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030,” said Dr. Gomes.

At the same time, Vice President of the African Union Commission H.E Mr. Quartey Thomas Kwesi stressed that Africa’s overall reliance on exporting raw commodities poses a huge economic and development risk.

“The global commodities market is unpredictable and thus unreliable as a long-term development option and also subject to manipulation,” he said, urging more contributions from the continent to global value chain output.

Ministers debated a report from generated by senior officials, whose meetings earlier in the week had brought together more than 80 participants and stakeholders from more than 30 ACP countries and three ACP Regions (COMESA/ SADC and ECOWAS/UEMOA). Discussions highlighted where and how the African Union, through the AMDC, and the ACP Group can work more closely together to achieve their shared goals, including :

· Scaling up mineral-related linkages for industrial development in ACP resource-rich countries through supply chain development.

· Leveraging financial inclusion in support of artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM)

· Building capabilities to meet the evolving skill needs of the mining sector and beyond, through the creation of innovative systems to drive industrialisation and optimise natural resource management

· Improving geospatial and geological information for ACP member states to benefit from the blue economy in the framework of the African mining vision

A roundtable session between ministers and high-level private sector representatives also elaborated on opportunities for generating sustainable and decent job creation, while linking with other relevant sectors. Several ACP Ministers shared their countries' experiences and policies being implemented to boost the mining sector as a driving force for economic growth and sustainable development.

High profile entrepreneurs such as Mrs. Bridgette Radebe, South African mine owner and one of the richest women in Africa, made valuable contributions to the debates on how policy-makers and private sector leaders could join forces in fostering a new African mining vision.

The meeting ended on an optimistic note with a number of key recommendations endorsed for developing the mining sector in ACP countries. It was agreed that while important progress has been made in this area, much still remains to be done.

A joint final report of the meeting will be produced by the AMDC and ACP Secretariat.

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(Photos from top: Moderator of the High Level Meeting on Mineral Resources Development, former Prime Minister of Guinea H.E. Mr. Kabine Komara;

ACP Assistant Secretary General Mr. Viwanou Gnassounou, Deputy Chairman of the African Union Commission H.E. Mr. Kwessi Quartey, Former Prime Minister of Guinea H.E. Mr. Kabine Komara and ACP Secretary General H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes;

Ministers responsible for Mining/ Mineral Resources Development from Chad H.E. Mr. Y. Abassalah; Zambia, Hon. C. Yaluma and Togo, H.E. M.D. Ably-Bidamon, alongside South African mining magnate Mrs. Bridgette Radebe;

Minister of Transport and Mining of Jamaica Hon. L.M. Henry;

Mines ministers of Cameroon H.E. Mr. E. Ngwaboubou, Ghana – Hon. B. Oteng-Ngyasi, and Guinea – H.E. A. Magassouba;

Policy-makers and private sector leaders share experiences during high level debate session.)

– ACP Press