operations in southern Africa
|Mining, along with agriculture, is the backbone of many
economies in SADC. But the industry faces loss of investment on the back of falling global
commodity prices. However, as Kaputo Chenga, a Lusaka-based journalist reports, efforts
are underway to revitalise the fortunes of the sector.
According to the Review of the Mining Industry done
by the SADC mining sector for the year ending December 1999, the recessionary
| The week of 9
to 13 October was a busy one for Lusaka which was the venue for the SADC-EU Mining
Investment Forum called Mines 2000.
Zambian President, Frederick Chiluba, officially opened the
forum. In a speech read on his behalf by Vice President Christone Tembo, Chiluba said the
regions expectations from the forum were increased foreign investment inflows
coupled with technology transfer.
The mining industry in our region should not forget
our aspirations to improve the quality of life of the people through creation of jobs and
wealth, said Chiluba.
The main feature of the forum was the one-to-one business
meetings between project promoters and investors. These meetings, organised through the
blind date concept afforded project promoters and investors to schedule
business appointments, discuss and where possible enter into business arrangements.
Workshops on diverse aspects of mining such as
mining finance, industrial minerals, di-mension stone, and the small scale mining
initiative also characterised mines 2000.
Mines 2000 was organised by the SADC Mining Sector and the
European Commission (EC) with the support of the Centre for the Development of Enterprises
(CDE, formerly Centre for the Devel-opment
of Industry) and was funded by the European Development Fund (EDF). This is the second
Forum organised by the SADC mining sector and the EU after the success of the 1994 event (FOMIN94)
The European Union has approved the financing of the
|EU-SADC Invest-ment Programme (ESIP), the purpose of which is
to promote investment and inter-enterprise co-operation agreements in key sectors of the
Mining is the backbone of many economies in SADC
Mines 2000 is one of many EU-ACP (Af-rican, Caribbean and
the Pacific) initiatives for the development of private enterprises in the SADC region.
The SADC mining sector will receive additional support from the ESIP programme that will
commence in the year 2001.
The SADC and EU approach for staging the forum is to
encourage mining investment in the region. The southern African mining industry is said to
be important and dynamic and has the potential to create increased economic growth and job
opportunities as more mineral deposits are discovered. Currently, mining contributes an
estimated 60 percent of the SADC foreign exchange earnings, about 10 percent to Gross
Domestic Product (GDP), and provides approximately five percent of all formal employment.
In addition, the range of commodities that are already
mined in the SADC region are unrivalled in the world and the prospects are great as there
are many parts of the region which have not undergone modern exploration, says the 2000
SADC-EU Forum Project Profiles document.
|pressures in East Asia resulted in low mineral commodity
prices. Gold was the commodity most affected by the recession and prices dropped to US$253
per ounce in the third quarter of 1999 but like many other mineral commodities,
recovered in the last quarter of the year.
In addition to the mineral potential of the region, SADC
member states have taken a step further in encouraging investment in the region by
updating their mining policies, and improvements in infrastructure required by mining such
as energy and transport.
SADC also has long term plans to develop the regions
abundant hydro-electric power potential. SADC member states have agreed on co-operation in
mining, through the Mining Sector Protocol, which has since come into force. On the other
hand, the EU and CDE have established a technical assistance fund to facilitate the
development of selected projects initiated during the EU-ACP Fora.
The four days of the forum provided a working and meeting
business people with the objective of establishing new contacts between Eu-ropean,
Australian, Canadian, Indian and USA (third countries) on one hand and African enterprises
on the other hand, in order to promote the mining sector development in the SADC
In attendance also were ministers of mines or their
equivalent from SADC member states and representatives of the EU and the CDE.
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