Ing Wisdom Gomashie writes: AU@61, a spotlight on Africa’s extractive sector

Ing Wisdom Gomashie shares his perspective on the continent's extractive sector as the AU celebrates is 61st anniversary

Today marks the 61st anniversary of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity, now African Union (AU).

The AU was established on May 25, 1963, which was preceded by the first congress of independent African States held in Accra on April 15, 1958, under the tutelage of prominent personalities such as Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the then Prime Minister of Ghana, His Majesty Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Prime Minister of Nigeria, H. E. Julius K. Nyerere of Tanzania among others.

On this day, I remember the words of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who on 22 April, 1970 stated that, “…No single part of Africa can be safe, or free to develop fully and independently, while any part of Africa remains unliberated, or while Africa’s Vast economic resources continue to be exploited by imperialist and neo-colonialists interests. Unless Africa is politically united under an All-African Union Government, there can be no solution to our political and economic problems.”

I believe the import of AU was to liberate some non-independent states back then and foster economic cooperation among member states.

Africa over the years has received the necessary bashing for not living up to expectation, mostly in the aspect of economic independence.

Despite accounting for some 30% of the world’s natural resources with large prospects even unexplored, the continent is mostly a classical case study of resource curse hypothesis in most cases where poverty, unemployment and lack of access to basic amenities is still prevalent among her citizens.

Raw exports of minerals to foreign countries are still ruining the gains of African Countries, illicit financial flows in the sector are still affecting the continent.

As we celebrate 61 years of the African Union, I believe we have made some giant strides and successes to share:

1. In Ghana, with a long century of Gold Mining, a 2024 report of the African Minerals Development Center revealed that, Ghana places in the advanced category on the overall African Mining Vision progress scale, with a high rate of growth throughout the six African Minerals Governance Framework (AMGF).

Ghana has passed Local Content Regulations, L. I. 2431, which seeks to boost Indigenous gains in the sector.

Today in Ghana, a lot of Ghanaians are managing contracts in the Mines, then some decades ago when they were in the hands of foreign companies.

Enactment of the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), 2018, Act 978 as a sovereign mineral wealth fund to invest state royalties in all mining companies in the country The fund has a projected Assets Under Management (AUM) US$ 1 billion from US$125 million in 2021.

MIIF has acquired a stake in some mining companies in the country, notably, Asante Gold, Atlantic Lithium et al, and hence, ensuring the state becomes a key player in the industry towards improved gain

The government of Ghana has enacted Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) Act 2018, Act 976 and Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) Act, 2019, Act 988 to develop the bauxite and iron industry, from mining to finished products in-country with a minimum 30% State and local participation.

The government of Ghana in 2019 entered into a partnership with private investors and established the Royal Ghana Gold Refinery to boost value Addition drive in the gold sector. The refinery has a capacity to refine 400kg of gold per day.

2.In Nigeria, Dangote Refinery, a 650,000 bpd, is expected to meet Nigeria’s 100% Petroleum needs and the sub-region. A great achievement.

3. In Burkina Faso, where mining accounts for nearly 16% of their GDP, 80% of their export earnings, the new military junta in November 2023 cut sod for the construction of a new Gold Refinery with an annual refining capacity of 150 tonnes.

President Traore, in his speech, indicated that “We will no longer be refining our gold abroad but have it refined and know the real value of that comes out from our mines.”

Burkina Faso is on the right path.

4. Zimbabwe, in 2022, banned the exports of unprocessed lithium followed by Tanzania, which is set to start the same in June 2024.

5. South Africa and Botswana have established gold exchange and diamond bullion markets respectively to track responsible sourcing of gold/diamonds, chase taxes, mitigate smuggling, etc.

6. The government of Guinea in February 2024 approved for the construction and development of the simandou Iron Ore project, which is set to become the largest and highest grade new iron ore mine according to

A lot is happening in the African Mining Industry towards improved benefits.

I continue to indicate that, African governments should continue value Addition and Local Contentment Plans, support Indigenous people to own the Mineral exploitation process, provide support for Artisanal Small-scale mining through access to credit, technology and geologically certified concessions.

Licensing periods for mineral exploitation should be easy and less bureautic with a shorter duration.

Africa is on the path. We must use our mineral wealth to deliver the needed development to our people.

On this day, my special advice to all African Governments is that they should be intentional about the discussion on the just Energy Transition and not be a spectator.

We can’t repeat the gold curse.

Happy 61 years of African Union.



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