Africa-Press – Botswana. The President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has implored African states representatives and investors to tap into skills and knowledge transfer provided by the Australian mining industry.
Addressing the Africa Down Under (ADU) attendants at a dinner held in Perth on Wednesday, President Masisi said the conference was an opportunity for Africa to maximise economic value of her mineral resources as well as enhance opportunities for win-win partnerships.
He highlighted that the mining hub of Western Australia was a springboard for opportunities in the mining industry that was vital in growing mineral and energy sectors for African states, including Botswana.
That, he said against the backdrop that real value jobs were in the services of supply and support industries in mining, which needed to be exploited to ensure value chains were derived from the mineral resources that the African continent was endowed with.
“Let us join efforts to realise the mission to transform African countries to the high income status they all aspire to be,” he said.
He added that Africa was home to all valuable mineral resources that were essential to generating wealth, producing commodities and advancing technology.
“Our mineral resources are a critical driver of economic growth and economic development as they contribute a significant amount of fiscal revenues, foreign currency reserves and employment generation for all our people,” he said.
He said Botswana, like other African countries, was not an exception in deriving benefits from mineral resources that were in unprocessed form, due to long term agreements in mining resources that catered for raw materials resulting in low value integration into global supply chain.
In that regard, he said the ADU conference was a platform to dialogue on beneficiation and sharing experiences as well as best practices on how to address the challenges that hindered value creation of Africa’s resources.
“Beneficiation provides the avenue to increase value of exports as well as create new industries jobs, new products leading to diversification of exports and economies leading to opportunities for youth entrepreneurs who can service the new industries,” the President said.
He said minerals and extractive industries should be true drivers of socio-economic transformation of societies.
Ultimately, he said for Botswana to generate more wealth for its minerals, it was better to negotiate better contract terms to enable the country to have more equitable benefits sharing from diamonds.
Furthermore, President Masisi said the negotiation of new term increased Botswana’s share with DeBeers to 30 per cent with a goal to increase the share of the stones to 50 per cent in 10 years’ time.
“This week presents a window for targeted engagements for partners and engagements in the mining sector. This means opportunities for collaboration with public and private sector and those key experts in mining sector should be encouraged to engage in maximising benefits for our countries.
I therefore encourage you to engage and harness potential of Public Private Partnerships,” he said.
President Masisi indicated that Botswana also had a lot to offer in terms of skills as well as best practices that were mutually beneficial and diverse.