An event was convened by the Chatham House Africa Programme in cooperation with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) on 19–20 September in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to discuss how Africans can benefit from the global demand for critical minerals, harnessing the potential for economic growth and human development.
Featuring a speech by Dr Vanessa Ushie, Director, Natural Resources at the African Development Bank, the event saw guests from business, government and regional organizations gather to discuss how to respond to the strategies and market-interventionist polices of the UK, EU, US and other countries – while protecting African needs and interests.
The event also launched an important new paper on Parliamentary Oversight of Extractives Resources and Climate Change Policies and a book (Unpacking the Nexus between Climate Change and Extractive Industries in Sub-Saharan Africa) on African aspirations and actions for benefitting from strategic minerals.
Africa Programme Senior Research Fellow Christopher Vandome said:
‘African countries could play a crucial role in diversifying supply chains for strategic minerals. However, they receive low levels of exploration expenditure compared to global competitors due to perceptions of political risk, weak institutional and legislative environments, and infrastructure deficits.
‘African policymakers, investors, and companies recognise that they have a responsibility to ensure that citizens truly benefit from the green commodity boom.
‘African governments and regional organizations are defining their own strategies and approaches to maximising their resource potential. Their priorities are creating attractive investment environments and building international and local partnerships with business to realize the full benefits of their mineral resources, and work with consumer countries to secure skills and knowledge transfers.
‘This event played an important part in sharing knowledge and ideas to move these needs forward in a constructive way and we thank all those who attended for their contributions and enthusiasm.’
Also speaking at the event, Anja Berretta Head of the Regional Programme Energy Security and Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa at KAS said:
‘In a bid to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases, renewable energies and green technologies play a substantial role. This strategically places Africa in a favourable position as minerals and metals needed for the green transition are widely available on the continent.
‘Africa has a huge opportunity to truly benefit from the increasing demand of raw materials. The creation of value chains around extractive industries can result in job opportunities and sustainable economic growth.
‘Joint efforts are needed to create an enabling environment. We are therefore very happy that this conference brought together key players from the public and private sector.’