Nigeria and South Africa in search of prosperity in mining – Part 2
Continued from yesterday
For the new resource economy to benefit both local and global stakeholders, we are taking an activist posture towards issues of developing local content and ensuring a transfer of skills and technology that will be to our nation’s advantage in the medium and long term. While we are committed to maintaining a liberal business environment, we are also mindful that the new resource economy results in a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
This is why we intend to see to it that host communities are directly and positively impacted by the activities that will be undertaken in their domains. The historic restiveness in the Niger Delta and labour related uprisings in the South African mining industry can be put permanently in the past with this new approach to governance of the extractives industries.
Today, the continent’s fortunes appear partially stalled. Pundits wonder if our work of reform is entirely hostage to shrinking commodities demand from China and India. The decline the naira and the rand have suffered in the past year is partially linked to the commodities narrative. Nonetheless, the truth is that Africa’s narrative of prosperity has deeper roots, and is firmly in our control.
Nigeria has our eyes set on a rebound in the global commodities market, hopefully sooner than later, and we are doing everything possible in the interim to ensure we position our industry for market dominance when that time comes.
We will work towards stoking aggregate demand and restructuring entire swathes of our societies to prepare them for the next generation of jobs, and delivering a joined up locomotive of growth. Hopefully, other African countries will take a cue from the renewed commitment of our countries to partner towards building the capabilities to create jobs and broaden the economic opportunities available to young Nigerians and South Africans. The aggressive integration of our economies will also create new corridors of growth for our neighbours and partners in both the ECOWAS and SADC regions.
We will find smart mechanisms for leveraging each other’s key strengths and easing the modalities for engagement between businesses in both countries e.g. visa liberalisation for skilled mining and petroleum workers to help speed transitions as well as maintain growth momentum. We will also push our citizens to interact more intensively, whether it is in vacationing in each other’s countries or forming new personal networks. A shared experience and prosperity is the key to a new wave of African economic growth, and our presidents are determined to deliver on that pledge.
As we welcome South Africa’s delegates to Abuja on a follow-up technical visit next week, and as momentum gathers towards the Nigeria-South Africa bi-national commission holding in August this year, we will continue to explore means of creatively building bridges between our countries towards modeling the possibilities that African integration offers for shared growth and prosperity. While we may have started at different points as independent, proud nations, our commitment to improving the living conditions of our citizens continues to pull us along a familiar pathway. Neither republic is perfect; we have our flaws, but we also have our strengths, and we are constrained by our responsibility to history and to our fellow Africans, to leverage them for the common good.
We look forward to welcoming more South African investors to Nigeria, just as we know that South Africa is extending an equally warm embrace to Nigerians. Nelson Mandela’s historic admonishment that Nigeria and South Africa must work together to transform Africa rings louder at this time than ever before. This is the least we can do in fulfilling the African mining vision (AMV). Indeed, as Madiba’s spirit smiles on this partnership he so treasured, let us his followers and friends ennoble his legacy with a renewed pledge of progressive brotherhood, towards shared prosperity in mining.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi is Minister of Solid Minerals Development
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