CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – Mining needs to be reinvented as a mutually transformative win-win for countries and companies to put an end to the resource curse, which has destroyed the collective creativity of resource-rich economies, causing them to fall behind their resource-poor counterparts, former Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the 2016 Investing in African Mining Indaba, Biti outlined how Africa’s 24 countries reliant on minerals as the dominant economic driver continually lagged the continent’s mineral-poor countries in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and the Gini coefficient.
What was self-evident and shocking was that in the traditional 24 mineral-rich countries, mining had not created the basis of sustainable development and had not translated into benefits for the majority of people.
Human rights and labour lawyer Biti sketched how resource riches had instead become breeding grounds of political instability, patronage and crony capitalism.
Going forward, there was a need for a shift to a better paradigm for government, mining companies and communities.
He advocated the creation of sustainable developmental models to ensure backward, forward and particularly spatial linkages.
Besides industrialisation and beneficiation, economic diversification was key.
“If ever there’s a lesson in the current slump, it’s the need for diversification,” he said.
Significant opportunities existed for gross capital formation in energy and transport and investment openings were wide in agriculture, fisheries and information technology.
“I see the opportunity of power on the continent as a big silver lining in the reinvention of the mining sector,” Biti added.