Reflections on five years of the Africa Mining Vision

This post first appeared on 4 December 2014 on The Publish What You Pay website
Gilbert Makore – Coordinator, PWYP Zimbabwe 


The Africa Mining Vision was adopted by African Heads of State and Government in February 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It represented the highest political affirmation that there is a need for a paradigm shift in terms of Africa’s current mineral regime. The AMV is the most comprehensive vision for Africa’s mining transformation agenda as it seeks to break with the myopic focus on resources and looks at the whole mining value chain; from contracts negotiation right through to the use of mining revenue for sustainable development. The Vision is for“transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development”.

Some of the specific tenets of the AMV include:

A knowledge-driven African mining sector that catalyses & contributes to the broad-based growth & development;

A mining sector that has become a key component of a diversified, vibrant and globally competitive industrialising African economy;

A mining sector that has helped establish a competitive African infrastructure platform, through the maximisation of its propulsive local & regional economic linkages;

A mining sector that harnesses the potential of artisanal and small-scale mining to stimulate local/national entrepreneurship, improve livelihoods and advance integrated rural social and economic development

The critical success factors for the attainment of the Vision include: the level and quality of the resource potential data; contracts negotiating capacity; ongoing African resources development and governance capacity; improving the capacity to manage mineral wealth and addressing Africa’s infrastructural constraints.

Five years since the adoption of the AMV, the question is- what has been its success and what have been the failures? It is also important to reflect on the reasons for both the successes and failures. Such reflections are important as the failure or death of the AMV would be a travesty, particularly for African citizens who have long borne the negative impacts of mining with no commensurate benefits.

Status of AMV Implementation

The implementation of the AMV has been far from impressive. Far from motivating African governments to urgently take steps to transform their mineral regimes; the AMV has been often ignored or given a wide berth.

The main positive since the adoption of the AMV has been the establishment and operationalisation of the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC). The mandate of the AMDC is to coordinate the implementation of the AMV Action Plan. It is, among other issues, charged with identifying gaps and areas of need in Member States; and undertaking and coordinating policy research on strategies and options for realising the Mining Vision. The AMDC has developed a guide to assist countries in developing national mining visions aligned to the AMV and has also begun to provide support to a few countries (e.g. Lesotho) to ensure their mining regimes are based on the AMV. Yet even this could be counted against the continent as the AMDC is not funded by Africa. For all the talk about superintendence over its mineral resources, Africa has not taken lead in funding the AMDC which is supposed to coordinate the implementation of the AMV. This raises concern as to whether or not there is sufficient commitment to the successful implementation of the AMV.

On the whole, the AMV is off target on most of its set objectives for 2009-2014. During this five year period, member states were expected to have mainstreamed the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) principles in national laws and policies. It was also expected that countries would have begun looking at the possibilities of using future generation or stabilisation funds for inter-generational equity. Other issues include formalising artisanal small scale mining (ASM); integrating gender equity in mining laws and policies; and strengthening the negotiating capacity of public officials.

There has been no marked improvement on most of these across Africa. Where some of these issues have been addressed, it has not been due to or in the context of the AMV. Perhaps one of the biggest indictments of African governments is that most officials and Parliamentarians are unaware of the AMV beyond cursory knowledge.

Implementation Status in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe managed to develop a Draft Minerals Policy that is wholly based on the tenets of the AMV. However, this Draft, crafted in March 2013 is yet to be adopted. The country has also enacted legislation to establish a Sovereign Wealth Fund and has taken steps to compel mining companies to increase beneficiation and value addition, primarily in the platinum mining sector. This is in line with the AMV. However, serious gaps remain in practice in terms of promoting transparency and accountability. While the Ministry of Finance has repeatedly highlighted the need for the adoption of the EITI, this is yet to be done.

Role of the Publish What You Pay Campaign and Recommendations

There are some overlaps between PWYP and the AMV. These mainly relate to the focus on improving aspects of the whole mining value chain and promoting transparency and accountability. Indeed, the AMV specifically references the PWYP Campaign and the EITI as demonstration that accounting for mineral revenues has become a topical issue. It is, therefore, particularly important for PWYP to raise awareness of the AMV and campaign for its implementation particularly aspects that relate to transparency and accountability. The AMV should represent a point of leverage as African governments have already committed to it and thus recognise the need for reform. Raising awareness of the AMV also requires that CSOs themselves deepen their knowledge of the AMV and its tenets. It may also be important to conduct audits or reviews of the AMV implementation in each member state as a basis for renewed evidence-based advocacy towards the implementation of the AMV.

These are personal reflections based on a Third World Network Africa, Southern Africa Resource Watch and ITUC- Africa convened meeting on ‘Five Years of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV): Strengthening Networking of CSOs and Social Constituencies for More Effective Influence’ held on 19-20 November 2014 in Lusaka, Zambia