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Africa Must Stop Mortgaging Natural Resources: CNRG

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By Romio Takundwa

THE Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) have blamed African leaders for mortgaging the continent’s wealth in the name of attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

In its Africa Day Statement, the research and advocacy civil society organization whose mandate is to promote good governance of natural resources, particularly minerals further stated that the continent has failed to tap into its vast natural resource endowments because of undemocratic governance.

“According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, an estimated $88.6 billion, which is equivalent to 3.7% of Africa’s GDP, leaves the continent through illicit capital flight every year. This amount is half the annual financing gap of the continent. Cumulatively this translates to 1 trillion having been lost since 2011.

“Africa is enduring massive resource depletion; and environmental and social cost of natural resources extraction. It is the biggest contradiction of our time that Africa, the largest supplier of natural resources to the world, is experiencing an exponential rise in the population of people living in extreme poverty. African people are dying prematurely due to a combination of poverty, violent conflicts and climate change effects, all driven by poor governance,” read the statement.

CNRG further highlighted that mineral rich communities in Africa are marred with violations of human rights urging the African Union (AU) to invest in the welfare of Africans and protect them from “predatory and unpatriotic elites” that personalize the wealth of their countries at the expense of their citizens.

“Natural resource extraction is accompanied by gross human rights violations and environmental crimes. Children growing up in resource-rich communities have remote chances of succeeding in life because of the inhuman and violent conditions they are raised in. The Africa We Want must invest Africa’s wealth in the African people.

“We want an African Union that defends the rights of the African people to live in peace and dignity. We demand an African Union that protects African children from predatory and unpatriotic elites that personalize the wealth of their countries at the expense of their citizens, especially children. For Africans to be treated with dignity and respect in the world, they must be treated as such in Africa first,” read the statement.

CNRG also bemoaned the “colonial and oppressive laws” that have been maintained by Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular in the governance of the extractive sector. This has seen the displacement of people from their native land in various parts of the country.

“Zimbabwe has maintained colonial and oppressive laws which relegate communal people to second class citizens in their own country. The Mines and Minerals Act, specifically designed to protect the interests of capitalists is used to trample on the rights of Zimbabweans. Chilonga in Chiredzi, Dinde and Cross Dete in Hwange rural, Rimbi in Chipinge, Murehwa and Fort Rixon in Insiza are a few of many communities in Zimbabwe that are at risk of forced displacement just to massage and cushion the accounts of capitalists.

“These communities are deprived of their right to self-determination as enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights,” added the statement.

Today, the African continent in commemorating Africa Day. The 25th of May was set aside to celebrate the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU).

The theme for 2021 is “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”.

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