The African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) would in 2017 take over the operations of the African Mining Legislation Atlas (AMLA,) a World Bank initiated project.
The project was initiated by the World Bank in collaboration with the African Legal Support Facility, the African Union, and partner universities, including the University of Ghana (UG) School of Law.
Ms Nneoma Veronica Nwogu, a Senior Counsel at the World Bank’s Legal Vice Presidency, Africa and Middle East Practice Group, told the GNA at the close of the third Annual AMLA Workshop that the project was designed to be handed over to an African entity to ensure sustainability.
The ALSF would set up an AMLA Secretariat to work together with the Project Implementing Committee; an advisory body of African and global institutions with the technical skills to help guide the project to achieve its vision.
Ms. Nwogu said the transition, which began in June 2016, is expected to lead to a final handover of the project in June 2017.
She emphasised the importance of the project, which aims to build local legal capacity in Africa, especially for specialised areas of the mining sector, saying it was important to have cohort of skilled lawyers who could take on the challenge as experts in areas such as governance, rule of law, monitoring and implementation of contracts, as well as drafting of mining laws.
The 10-day intensive-training, brought together young lawyers from various countries on the continent.
Participants went through theoretical training, covering issues – from human rights to overview of mining laws – and stages to fiscal regimes, climate change issues, as well as practical exercises.
Best performers from the workshops would be selected to join the Legal Research Team to host all of Africa’s mining laws in an easily accessible way to enable countries to compare their mining laws with others.
“We want to create a continental cohort, we want to create people who understand not just their laws but also the laws of other countries so that it can influence how they are able to solve national problems, by understanding the continental context,” she stated.
Mrs Fatima Haram Acyl, the African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, said the AU was interested in ensuring the availability of a reliable database on African resources, thus its collaboration with the World Bank on the AMLA project.
She said the database development by the Legal Research Team would allow African countries to compare their data, such as performance of fiscal regimes, with those of other countries, in order to curb the problem of the ‘race to the bottom’, which is a competition among African countries that leads to them giving out tax incentives.
She added that the project was also important to the AU, as it built the capacity of Africa’s human resource, through the training workshops. “It’s a very programme and we need to make that we move ahead with it and multiply it,” she said.
Mr. Thierno Olory-Togbe, a Senior Legal Counsel with the ALSF, said the ALSF would ensure the successful implementation of the project to the next level, using the project’s five-year action plan.
“We will continue to concentrate on the students and building capacity of future legal experts in Africa, but we will also raise awareness of the programme around Africa for legal and non-legal experts,” he said.
Dr. Abdul-Baasit Aziz Bamba, a Lecturer in Law at the UG School of Law, said the School was happy to be selected to host this year’s workshop.
He said Ghana’s mining sector would benefit from the database by sharing in the knowledge in order to develop tailored solutions to mining problems.
“For me, the key thing is building the capacity of our students to become experts in mining; that is what has been lacking as a country,” she said.
“We need young students to be interested in issues of mining because they are our future generation who will ensure the country benefits from our mineral resources.” GNA