Zimbabwe’s Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Walker Chidhakwa has expressed fear that Africa’s future generations may live to hate the present leaders for not taking corrective steps on the current mining systems.
The Minister has observed that posterity may harshly judge the current generation of leaders, particularly ministers and experts in charge of minerals on the continent, if they maintain the exploitative mining systems which were inherited from colonial masters.
Mr. Chidhakwa pointed out that the current mining systems, which many African countries inherited from their colonial masters, do not have the interests of African citizens but were there to serve the welfare of foreign continents.
He explained that colonialists designed the African mining systems in such a way that they should feed industries in foreign countries with raw mineral materials hence they developed into what are called industrialised nations today.
Mr. Chidhakwa was speaking in Victoria Falls town last night during a dinner hosted in honour of ministers in charge of mineral resources development from the African Union (AU) member states.
The ministers, together with mining and minerals experts are attending a first extra-ordinary session of the African Union conference of ministers responsible for mineral resources development in Africa which is co-hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The ministers’ conference officially opens today in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls town and will officially close tomorrow in Livingstone in Zambia.
This ministers’ conference was preceded by a three day meeting of mineral and mines experts.
Mr. Chidhakwa further charged that Africa has a generational responsibility to change the systems of mining and make them aim at addressing the economic statutes of governments and their citizens on the continent.
“The people who are going to live in our countries in hundred years will spit on our graves when they realise that we did not take measures to correct the current systems of mining,” he said while receiving applaud from diners.
He added that, “Asia is talking about minerals in Africa; Europe is talking about minerals in Africa. Africa must talk about its own minerals now”.
Mr. Chidhakwa also noted that African countries were not reaping a lot of profits from their mineral wealth because the resources were being exported in their raw form.
He has since proposed that African countries should begin to process their minerals into finished products in order to get desired profits.
Zambia’s Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Christopher Yaluma, his Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda, mining and minerals experts and other government officials are attending the conference.
Two days ago, Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Richard Musukwa urged African governments to address the contradiction of having high poverty levels amidst abundant natural resources in many mineral-rich African countries.
Mr. Musukwa said African countries should therefore enhance the implementation of initiatives and frameworks which would ensure that benefits from natural resources such as minerals help reduce poverty among local people.
He was speaking in Livingstone during the official opening of the experts meeting in the first extra-ordinary session of the African Union conference of ministers responsible for mineral resources development.
The conference is being held to decide on institutional and sustainability frameworks for the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC).
The centre is expected to help African countries earn maximum profits from their mineral resources.