Faith-Based Actors, CSOs, CBOs and Young people engage on issues on extractive industries and inequality in Africa
“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world none of us can truly rest” Nelson Mandela
Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) Southern Africa successfully hosted a Pan African Conference on Extractive Industries and Inequality. The conference was held in South Africa from 28th to 30th October 2019 under the theme Extractive Industries and Fighting Inequality, exploring the linkages, towards a more equal society”. The conference aimed at critically analyzing the positive and negative linkages between the Extractive Industry and the fight for equality, making policy recommendations on how the industry can better contribute to a more equal and more just society.
Inequality is a global phenomenon. In Africa inequality has reached crisis levels in Africa. While a small but growing number of people are becoming extremely rich, the vast majority are denied even the most basic essential elements of a dignified life, such as quality education, healthcare and decent jobs, despite economic growth driven by the extractive industries.
70 delegates from different organizations across the African continent participated. The conference interrogated the extent to which the extractive industries in the Southern, West and East Africa are contributing to the reduction or perpetuation of poverty and socio-economic inequality. Participants took time to share and learn experiences from the continent on how local communities have benefited as well as to come up with sustainable and practical steps on how the extractive industries can help to enhance the lives of the citizens and fight inequality.
The important part of the meeting was the involvement of young people in engaging in the discussions. The conference had a debate session in which young people from South Africa and Zimbabwe challenged each other’s ideas. The motion of the debate was dubbed “this house believes that Natural Resources Extraction has failed to address the twin challenges of poverty and inequality”. The debate brought in rich and well-researched ideas on the discourse of natural resource governance in Africa.
It is important to note that there is need to invest in youth engagement in the natural resources governance and the policy discourse. Young people are the future of Africa, it bears more results in the future if young people are mobilized to effectively engage in important policy issues that affect the continent. Africa is endowed with rich natural resources, but if the continent does not invest in making natural resources work for the people, 50 years down the line, we will not have resources to sustain our continent.
AACC is committed to the agenda of economic, social justice and fighting inequality in Africa.