TANZANIA needs to translate growth in extraction activities into inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development and transformation, Prof Patrick Lumumba has said.
Speaking during the opening day of the International Minerals and Mining Investment Conference in Dar es Salaam, Prof Lumumba, said Tanzania boasts metals and fuel minerals which if well managed could massively transform the country’s economy.
“Having a good policy and legal framework is nothing if it is not implemented to the benefit of local communities and the entire nation,” stressed PLO Lumumba while presenting a topic ‘Management and Political Perspective of the Mining Sector’.
Prof Lumumba said evidence has shown that the mining sector can contribute immensely to the socio-economic well-being of a nation if the proceeds from the mineral are properly harnessed and deployed.
He underscored the need for African countries to tap into their mineral wealth for the much-sought economic prosperity and break from the past, insisting the African continent is endowed with vast mineral deposits.
“Mining has the potential to transform the African economy, moving Africa away from a predominantly low-income to a competitive upper-middle-income by 2040,” he asserted.
“Looking at successful resource-based development strategies elsewhere, it is clear that mineral resources can catalyse broad-based growth and development provided opportunities to “deepen” the resources sector, through the optimisation of linkages into the domestic economy.
“The experience of countries like Norway, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Brunei and many others outside the continent speak to this truism,” he argued.
Prof Lumumba said it was disgusting that although the African continent is blessed with gold, diamonds, oil, coltan, bauxite, uranium, iron ore and other valuable resources, its inhabitants have long numbered among the world’s poorest.
And he presented some of the reasons why Africa’s minerals have had minimal impact.
“Africa as a continent has been under-represented in mineral contributions to global value-chain output, specifically, its economic share in downstream mineral value addition,” PLO Lumumba noted.
According to Prof Lumumba, little attention has historically been given to the Low Value Minerals and Materials (LVMM) sector and, particularly, to how it could be a sustainable activity.
As a result, he said, many Low Value Minerals and Materials (LVMM) policies are poorly designed or implemented, while miners lack access to the rights, financial services, market information, and technology they need.
He added: “A national capacity to better manage mineral resources and process them locally and channel their mineral wealth into reducing poverty and creating employment has not been fully developed.”
Prof Lumumba called on mineral resource rich African countries to ensure that they properly address pollution and land degradation resulting from small scale mining.