The eighth African Development Forum (ADF VIII) which ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Thursday called on African countries to use their natural resources to promote people-centered sustainable development.
In a statement to the Ghana News Agency, the African Development Bank (ADB) said the forum which had the theme “Governing and Harnessing Natural Resources for Africa’s Development”, dwelt on the need for sustainable exploitation and preservation of Africa’s forests and its mineral resources.
“Africa accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land that need to be protected against rapacious speculation”.
In a statement to participants, OXFAM noted that the African continent is endowed with mineral resources such as gold, bauxite, oil and gas that can be tapped for the benefits of its people, yet the people are poor.
But the ADB said transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources were the major challenges that confront African countries.
According to the ADB the participants at the forum, identified policy, legal, regulatory, economic, governance, equity, knowledge, institutional and environmental constraints as key challenges to sustainable management of Africa’s natural resources and development.
“Overcoming these constraints is key, for attaining inter-sectoral linkages between agriculture, forest, industries and human settlement in Africa,” the statement added.
It also called on African countries to implement the “African Mining Vision” adopted by African leaders in 2009, which spells out how mining could bring about development in member countries.
The ADF is a biennial event convened in collaboration with the African Union Commission, African Development Bank, and other partners to establish an African-driven development agenda that reflects consensus on specific programmes for implementation.
About 1,000 participants, including Heads of State and Government, African Member State policy-makers, development partners, United Nations agencies, and non-governmental organizations, academia, practitioners, civil society organizations, the private sector, eminent policy and opinion leaders, and the media are participating. GNA