Executive Director, Africa Progress Panel
Africa’s natural resources boom has brought great opportunities. Extraction of oil, gas and minerals is driving unprecedented economic growth. Revenue from oil, gas and mining amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars a year, and estimates of Africa’s natural resource wealth are constantly being revised upwards. And yet not enough local communities have benefited from this mineral wealth, which has tended to create minimal jobs – and too often finds its way into the pockets of a few. Natural resource revenues must benefit the true owners of those resources: the people. Fair deals are the only ones to stand the test of time.
The urgent need to reduce inequality and poverty in Africa makes it especially important that resource revenues are used wisely. But money that should be spent on alleviating poverty and building on Africa’s creativity and dynamism is too often misused. Some resource-rich countries remain at the bottom of the international league for human development. If countries manage their mineral resources wisely, by contrast, a prosperous, stable Africa is within reach. Governments and their international partners need to improve transparency, ensure deals are fair, introduce appropriate legislation and crack down on tax evasion and other unethical business practices. The Africa Progress Panel, which is chaired by Kofi Annan, set out a comprehensive agenda for achieving such reforms in the Africa Progress Report 2013, Equity in Extractives...
*Statistics correct at time of original publication of Ministers Reference Book Commonwealth 2014.