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Control over natural resources big threat for Africa

Competition to control natural resources has been pinpointed as the biggest curse that continues to slow down progress in most African countries.

As common as it is that most conflict in Africa remains etched in the competition for resources and access to State power, Botswana seems to be dodging the bullet.

Botswana has been acknowledged as a model for escaping the pitfalls of the resource curse that has plunged Africa into constant war.

Speaking at the Seventh Post-Tana Forum, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the country has managed to stay out of conflict by ensuring that the exploitation of the natural resources results in socio-economic growth and development for the people.

Masisi explained that though the country’s story may not necessarily work for everyone, some elements might be beneficial for others to improve their governance systems.

“I am certain that some elements of it may help others to improve their governance systems. We are therefore always willing and ready to share our success story,” Masisi said on Wednesday. He outlined two issues that have played a role in the way the country has linked exploitation of natural resources with economic development, being natural resources rights being vested in the State and elaborate systems of planning through National Development Plans (NDPs).

On the two aspects, Masisi noted that in that way the country has promulgated laws, regulations and policies that ensure that all revenues from natural resources are used to develop the country for the benefit of all citizens and that all major projects are included in the NDP. 

“As a result of this approach, we are able to demonstrate that the proceeds from our natural resources are

being used to develop physical and social infrastructure such as roads, health facilities, schools, water supplies and for the provision of health and free education amongst others,” he said.

On the continent, Masisi said the lack of equality of the human race before the States’ machineries and the lack of due regard for the basic human rights of the people, also continue to ferment tensions that outlive generations, resulting in protracted conflicts, fighting and bloodshed.

He noted that despite efforts by the African Union to establish the Peace and Security Architecture, which entails the Peace and Security Council, the Continental Early Warning Systems, the Panel of the Wise, the African Standby Force and a Peace Fund to finance peace and security initiatives and efforts, it was still a far-fetched dream for peace.

“Having all these seemingly good initiatives has proven to be not enough a panacea to peace and security problems that we are facing.

“To this end, we are still going to need platforms like the Tana Forum as we continue our search for a collective response to minimising protracted conflicts in Africa,” Masisi said.

Meanwhile, the Post-Tana Forum’s main objective, which is to brainstorm and come up with concrete policy initiatives and directions to address issues of peace and security on the continent was held under the theme ‘Ownership of Africa’s Security Provision: Financing and reforming the African Union’.

It was meant for further interrogation of issues that impede full ownership of the peace and security process in Africa.




Just a few amendments will suffice

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