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Business News of Monday, 26 October 2015

Source: GNA

‘Proceeds of natural resources must advance dev’t’

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Mr Sipho M. Pityana, Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti has urged African leaders to use the proceeds of the natural resources to advance the frontiers of sustained economic development.

He said they should ensure that economic development is inclusive, and that, effective utilization of these resources must improve the social transformation of the poor for national development.

Mr Pityana was speaking at the fifth annual AngloGold Ashanti Ghana lecture on Business in Africa, in partnership with the Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ghana, on the topic: “African’s Resource: From Curse to Development Catalyst”.

He noted that the endowment of natural resources must be a blessing and not a curse, stressing that, mining should be the basis for economic development and if it is woefully mismanaged, it affects development.

Mr Pityana noted that it is imperative for African governments to ensure that resource revenues that accrue are transparently invested in development of strategic infrastructure to unlock the potential of other sectors of the natural economies.

He said countries with rich natural resources that seem unable to utilize the resources to create prosperity and economic growth has been a major challenge for most resource-endowed countries on the African continent.

“This phenomenon, which has weaknesses for both well-governed and poorly-governed countries, seems to affect countries with weak governance structures and institutions as well as results to corruption, conflict and undermining of inclusive growth”, he added.

He noted that the African experience should rather be one where the natural resources become a key catalyst for growth and economic development if the appropriate strategic frameworks are established and implemented.

Mr Pityana said governments and industry leaders need to recognize the opportunities the resource sector presents and chart a new course, without shirking industry’s responsibility for the impacts it has had on many societies.

“These impacts include environmental degradation, marginalization of local stakeholders and allowing a disproportionate distribution of returns to stakeholders “.

He called for responsible economic undertaking and shared value as the only real basis for enabling the extractive industries to become a reliable partner and catalyst for sustainable development of African economies.

“To achieve this requires a common vision among all stakeholders and a commitment to ensuring an enabling framework, which must include good governance, mutual respect and coexistence and an embrace of the developmental imperatives of host countries, whiles allowing a healthy return on enabling capital”.

Mr Frederick Kwesi Attakumah, Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti, Ghana, said the IAS collaborated with AngloGold Ashanti to establish a Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies to honour his intellectual contributions and for his vision and commitment to the liberation and development of Africa.

He said the platform provides opportunity to discuss topical and innovative business ideas and practices that seeks to radically transform the African situation for the benefit of all and sundry.

Mr Attakumah said AngloGold Ashanti initially provided 400,000 dollars towards the Chair when it was launched in 2007 and continues to fund the annual lectures on Business in Africa.

He said AngloGold remain committed to promoting study and research opportunities through long-term partnerships with key educational establishments such as the IAS, aimed at supporting education and business to change the Africa story.