To share and promote such best practices about 200 stakeholders in West Africa’s mining sector gathered in Abidjan June 24-27 at a conference sponsored by the World Bank Group, the Government of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Association of Professional Miners of Côte d’Ivoire (GPMCI), the Western Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), and the Ministry of Industry and Mines of Côte d’Ivoire. Participants ranged from policymakers and regional organizations to professional associations, mining companies, financial partners, mining suppliers, civil society, and communities close to the mining sites.
The first day of the forum was dedicated to promoting the mineral potential of Côte D’Ivoire. Studies indicate that Côte d’Ivoire, a thriving agricultural country located amid countries with some of Africa’s most substantial mineral resources, has untapped mining potential of its own. Despite its promising geology, the mining sector remains underdeveloped, though, currently contributing approximately only one percent of GDP. The Government seeks to increase the sector’s contribution to eight percent of GDP over the next decade.
“We seek to build a powerful image of the mining sector with a view to transforming Côte d’Ivoire into a major investment destination in Africa,” said Special Advisor for Mines and Energy at the Presidency, Dr. Daouda Thiam.
Discussions focused on the country’s geological potential, knowledge exchange on regulatory and tax provisions, the contribution of the mining sector to community development and domestic growth, management of impacts and environmental protection, mine closures and artisanal mining.
The second day of the forum was dedicated to discussion of legal and fiscal best practices for mining throughout Africa. Representatives from Niger, Mali, the Western Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the World Bank Group discussed royalty rates, state equity participation, tax and transfer pricing, among other issues. Participants from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo, along with experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), participated in a panel on the importance of environmental and social safeguards to promote the responsible management of mining impacts.
The last two days of the regional forum focused on local content as a way of maximizing benefits, promoting economic diversification, avoiding enclave developments, building new skills, and developing domestic industries. A new World Bank publication, Practical Guide on Local Procurement in West Africa’s Mining Sector, was presented. Jointly developed with Kaiser Economic Development Partners (EDP), it is a toolkit to help stakeholders expand and enhance the effectiveness of their local procurement activities. The Guide promotes a multi-stakeholder approach for increasing domestic sourcing through active participation of companies, government, and civil society. The draft publication can be viewed and commented on (you will need to request access to register and comment on the publication).
“The Guide will be very helpful for governments and companies in the region seeking to create job-opportunities and develop local industries around mines,” said Toni Aubynn, CEO of Ghana Minerals Commission.
Officials from the Chambers of Mines of six countries attended the workshop, and took part in a special session at which they shared their experiences in working with companies to buy more locally-produced goods and services. The representative of the chambers discussed how to coordinate to meet regional demand employing economies of scale, rather than relying only on smaller national markets that cannot always meet mining industry demand.
Conference participants outlined examples drawn from their experience to identify the benefits of local procurement, the requirements of mining companies and the importance of supplier networks in the region. These discussions culminated with the launch of the first mining supplier association to be formed in Côte d’Ivoire.
“Today is the beginning of our campaign to promote the use of local content for mining in Côte d’Ivoire,” said Mr. Rafiou Oyeossi, General Director of SPAREX, the new Côte d’Ivoire mining supplier association.