Nearly 100 key stakeholders from all over Africa met in Accra, Ghana from the 4th to 5th December, 2017 to deliberate on how the continent can enhance value addition in the extractive sector.

Value addition is one of the methods resource-rich countries are adopting to increase the benefits from resource extraction to their economies; promoting opportunities for the processing of the resources. Extractives could provide wide-ranging prospects to build input industries and to provide key mineral-based feedstocks into the rest of the economy for African countries.

It is on this basis that UONGOZI Institute and the Vice President’s Office of the Republic of Ghana collaborated to organize a high-level regional forum to reflect on how countries on the continent can best organize and position themselves to get maximum benefits from this sector by addressing the barriers to value-added processing.

The Forum was officiated by the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Dr. Mawamudu Bahumia, with remarks from Hon. John Peter Amewu, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and a Keynote Address by Dr. Paul Jourdan, Adjunct Visiting Professor at Wits University.

“In order for African countries to succeed in total transformation, we need to take advantage of the total value chain of the mining sector,” said Hon. John-Peter Amewu, in his remarks.

“I believe that if we are to focus on these strategies to optimise implementation of value creation activities, the mining sector will become an integral part of Africa’s economy,” he continued.

On his part, Vice President Bawumia stated that Ghana is “committed to moving our extractive sector beyond the old paradigm as part of the vision to move Ghana beyond aid.”

Ghana has some of the richest bauxite deposits in the world, which could last well over 100 years at a production rate estimated in excess of 2 million + MT of alumina annually. This would create potentially the single largest industry in Africa – a multi-billion-dollar industry, which would have a huge positive job impact for the continent.

“As we deliberated on this paradigm shift and trying to make a break from the past, in drafting this new bill, we thought it was very important to get the best minds across the continent and in the world to discuss the whole issue of value addition. One of the rationales for us as the presidency collaborating with the UONGOZI Institute on this, was to bring the best minds together. You are the experts here, you are the thinkers, so we brought you here to basically deliberate quite rigorously on the best way forward,” said Bawumia.

Recently, the Government of Tanzania announced an immediate ban on the export of concentrates and ores of all metallic minerals. The ban is intended to ensure that “value addition activities,” such as smelting and refining, are undertaken within Tanzania, with the stated objectives of increasing revenue generation, employment creation and technology transfer. By announcing such a policy, Tanzania joins several other resource-rich countries, which are considering or implementing policies that encourage value addition or processing.

According to Mr. Dennis Rweyemamu, speaking on behalf of the CEO of UONGOZI Institute, the Forum ultimately intended to draw recommendations on what should be done by government, local, and foreign companies to maximize value addition based on the discussions.

The Forum brought together participants from nine African countries, including Ghana; Tanzania; Botswana; South Africa; Ethiopia; Zambia; Uganda; Malawi and Kenya, with resource persons from the United Kingdom; Canada; Trinidad and Hong Kong.