COVID-19: UNECA tasks Africa govts on implementation of AMV

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By Temitope Ponle

Abuja, Oct. 23, 2020 The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has urged governments and industry players to implement the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) to fully curb the impact of the pandemic on the sector.

Antonio Pedro, Director, UNECA, Central Africa, said this during a dialogue on responses by governments and the industry to the COVID-19 pandemic in the extractive sector.

This is according to a statement from the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Friday.

AfDB’s African Natural Resources Centre (ANRC) and the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) hosted the dialogue with a focus on South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya.

The meeting, moderated by Stephen Karingizi, Director, African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) brought together policymakers and stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness and sustainability of measures to be taken in focal countries.

Naija247news recalls that the AMV was adopted by the First AU Conference of African Ministers responsible for mineral resources development in October 2008.

The conference developed the policy framework with the aim of using Africa’s mineral resources to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eradicate poverty, and achieve rapid and broad-based socio-economic and inclusive development.

According to the statement, however, there has been a low level of awareness of the framework among key stakeholders in the mineral sector since its inception.

Furthermore, Umar Ajiya, Group Executive Director at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), suggested that national oil companies set aside risk funds to minimise the impacts of unforeseen events.

Ajiya said that Nigeria’s heavy reliance on oil revenues, oversupply and the dramatic fall in demand for example had impacted the country’s economy.

“The Federal Government has had to cut its expenditure and reschedule debt, where necessary,” he added.

Also, James Ng’ang’a, Acting Secretary of Petroleum at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum in Kenya, said the COVID-19 pandemic had led to difficulties in contract negotiations with oil and exploration companies.

However, Sulemanu Koney, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, called on mining companies to establish good relationships with communities, which they can leverage on in the event of a crisis.

Meanwhile, Ben Aryee, Advisor to Ghana’s Lands and Natural Resources Minister, predicted a brighter outlook for the Ghanaian Gold sector in 2021.

“Gold has become a safe-haven and an investment of choice for many investors, as gold prices continue to increase due to economic uncertainty,” Aryee said.

The statement noted that Ghana planned to inaugurate a $400 million to $500 million Initial Public Offer at the London Stock Market in October.

The inauguration is in a bid to take advantage of the precious metal’s strong performance this year.

In her contribution, Valérie Marcel, an Associate Fellow at Chatham House and Project Lead for the New Producers Group, emphasised the need for more resilient systems to the “new normal’’.

Marcel noted that the pandemic had created a storm for the global petroleum industry.

The statement, however, noted that several economies in Africa were sustained by the extractive industry, with most national budgets dependent on mining and petroleum exports.

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