Mmegi Online :: SA minister calls for African geoscientists to be autonomous
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Last Updated
Friday 24 November 2017, 17:23 pm.
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SA minister calls for African geoscientists to be autonomous

Over-dependence on expatriate mineral exploration conglomerates for geological data by African states has been fingered as the cause of exploitation of the continentís vast mineral resources.
By Baboki Kayawe Tue 10 Oct 2017, 15:49 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: SA minister calls for African geoscientists to be autonomous








Moreover, the continent’s general underdevelopment is said to be correlated to lack of locally generated geological data, crucial for mineral exploration and investment, South African minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane told throngs of geoscientists in the capital yesterday.

The raspy-voiced Zwane did not mince words at the opening of the 10th Organisation of Africa Geological Survey’s (OAGS) annual general meeting yesterday that attracted continental and international geosciences specialists. He went at length about Africa’s saddening economic status versus the wealth extracted in the continent. He further said this state of affairs has impoverished the continent though endowed with mineral resources.  He said the slow pace of socio-economic development and gross exploitation in the mining sector are a result of lack of local expertise to produce geological data and information required for planning in the mining sector.

“The prognosis of generic under-development in Africa correlates with paucity of geoscience knowledge compared to developed regions. It is common knowledge that notwithstanding the vastness of mineral resources in the Continent, it however remains grossly under-mapped with limited knowledge of its true potential,” Zwane said. The result, he said has been over reliance on Eurocentric explorers under whose hands Africa continues to suffer base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and by multinational companies. BEPS refers to tax planning strategies used by multinational companies, that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is

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little or no economic activity.

“I submit that this paucity explains the slow pace of socioeconomic development within the continent and further qualifies why the continent continues to suffer from gross exploitation by major multinational companies operating in the continent through such schemes as the base erosion and profit shifting, sometimes referred to as transfer (mis)pricing in populist literature.” Zwane added having home processed geological data would enable better policies and negotiation of contracts relating to mining activities. Therefore, Zwane stressed the need for Africa countries to shift from high-level dependence on international exploration companies because they dictate prices here.

OAGS president, Alex Nwegbu who also spoke at the opening of the meeting, said OAGS’s goals  are to foster and sustain geoscience programmes and excellence in Africa for socio-economic development poverty alleviation specifically in mineral resource assessment is invaluable.

He said the establishment of the African Mining Vision, adopted by   the African Union Conference of African Ministers responsible for mineral resources development in 2009 had the same strategic objectives as the OAGS which is “commitment to prudent, transparent and effective development and management of Africa’s mineral resources to meet MDGs, eradicate poverty and achieve rapid and broad-based sustainable socio-economic development.”  

Nwegbu said the OAGS’s role of producing informative maps and publications that inform investment decisions cannot be over-emphasised. Hence the significance of national geological surveyors in the mining value chain through their sustained involvement in the sector is crucial.

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