Africa peace and security programme director (IPSS-Addis Ababa university) and head of the tana forum secretariat.

AuthorNdiaye, Michelle

Your focus this year is on governance and natural resources. What is the thinking behind the theme? Are you worried that governance is worsening across the continent? The nexus and discourse on natural resource governance and instability in some parts of Africa is not a new phenomenon. Whereas debates around the governance of natural resources have understandably been fixated on the extractive sector, the 6th Tana Forum will broaden the scope to include issues surrounding the governance of other natural resources, specifically: land, water, seas, and forests and biodiversity.

One of the most important and contentious issues Africa currently faces in the natural resource sector is how to reverse the misfortunes of exploitation and "bring governance back" in ensuring that benefits accruing from the continent's providential endowments create new opportunities and positive multiplier effects for both citizens and the state.

The mere availability of resources in Africa tends to provide a fertile ground to trigger conflict instead of promoting sustainable development. In line with the prescriptions of the African Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and other organisations, the Tana Forum will explore how African governments and institutions might better negotiate contracts, licences and concessions; encourage private sector investment; and work with external partners to certify and track mineral resources through the rigorous monitoring of supply chains.

Is it worrying that the scramble for natural resources is still a cause for instability, when most of the continent has been independent for 50 years?

The continent has not remained the same since independence gains were first madi 50 years ago. Emerging issues such as climate change and population growth are placing strains on our already limitec resources, leading to more intensified conflict. Unfortunately, this reality is further worsened by weak or non-exister governance structures that tolerate impunity and the exploitation of natural...

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