YAOUNDÉ, May 31, 2012 – More than 400 people from African, South American, and European countries joined together for the second Cameroon Mining Sector Knowledge Sharing Forum to exchange ideas, experiences and best practices related to the development of the mining sector.
Organized by the Cameroon government’s Ministry of Mines and the World Bank, the theme of this three-day Forum was “Stakes and Opportunities of Mining Development: The Challenge of Governance.” The forum aimed to expose and generate debate and dialogue among the multi-stakeholder participants—coming from Government, private sector and civil society—around how best develop and maximize Cameroon’s mining potential.
The mining sector in Cameroon is in its infancy. Despite the country’s geological wealth, mining does not contribute in any significant manner to the country’s economy or development. While approximately 100 exploration licenses have recently been issued and investments are starting to be made, the sector suffers from weak institutional capacity, weak capacity, and limited access to information and knowledge. As such, the Forum was an important event to improve access to international knowledge and expertise and strengthen coordination and collaboration between and within national stakeholders.
The forum brought national stakeholders in the mining sector together with international experts and practitioners to talk openly about the current phase of development of the sector in Cameroon. The Forum also stimulated dialogue between representatives from the public and private spheres, civil society and national stakeholders in the sector. Representatives from countries such as Chile, Argentina, Ghana, Mali, Gabon, South Africa, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Congo Brazzaville introduced international lessons and best practices from mining development. These experiences served as a starting point for discussion and reflection around the current state of development of the sector in Cameroon.
Issues discussed during the forum included the Extractive Industries value chain, transparency mechanisms, environmental issues linked to the development of the mining sector, the sector's potential contribution to the economy and various revenue sharing mechanisms, and the issuing of mining licenses.