The new wind of change blowing across Africa which is awakening governments on the continent to the fact that they need to get a share of their wealth is a breath of fresh air and must be supported by all right thinking Africans.
In fact, this is long overdue as we have said it over and over again that Africa must benefit from its vast mineral wealth. Africa is well-endowed with natural resources and must therefore benefit from these resources that are under and on its soil.
Africa (except Saharawi) has attained political freedom after waging bitter struggles against colonial oppression, racism, apartheid and other isms, but sadly economic freedom and emancipation has remained elusive. Everyday, the world watches as young Africans drown in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach Europe for better fortunes.
Everyday, we watch internal conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Libya and other countries which are largely sponsored by foreign powers who have an eye on exploiting resources in those countries.
We believe it is high time Africa stands up and be counted and take charge of its economic and development agenda. As we reported in our last edition, almost all countries in Africa are richly endowed with mineral resources, including oil, but little benefits are accrued from this natural wealth.
From the northern tip of the continent, West Africa and East Africa to Southern Africa and everywhere in between, there are massive quantities of natural resources contained within the continent’s interior.
In fact, Southern Africa alone is deemed to be the Persian Gulf of minerals. Experts say there is so much natural wealth on the continent that a great deal of it is yet to be exploited.
But throughout the years, these mineral resources have been exploited by, and are, benefiting outsiders instead of Africans themselves. Africa is endowed with diamonds, gold, oil, natural gas, uranium, platinum, copper, cobalt, iron, bauxite, silver, iron ore, aluminium, lithium, nickel, lead, titanium and bauxite.
In post-independence Africa, multinational companies from Europe, Asia and Americas are still wielding enormous control over mineral resources on the continent due to exploitative mining contracts.
In an effort to attract foreign direct investment, many African countries have made deals with multinational corporations to exploit mineral resources in their respective countries.
As a result, these governments ceded ownership of mineral deposits to mining companies through legislations and contracts that set low mining royalties, tax concessions and tax holidays for extractive companies.
These incentives are now haunting Africans, as they have nothing to show for it despite the mining sector generating super profits running into billions of dollars every year.
We believe it is trite that African economies accelerate the demand for a fair share of wealth from their minerals and other resources. This will enable them to withstand the recurring economic challenges that haunt the continent.
We also believe that proceeds from the sale of these resources must be used to develop countries on the continent and create employment for the millions of jobless youths who risk their lives crossing dangerous terrain to reach Europe and the Middle East where they are treated as sub-human.
Let the winds of change continue to blow and let African governments demand a fair share of their minerals wealth for the betterment of their countries.