As African governments seek to leverage their mineral resources strategically for broader, more inclusive and sustainable development, the need for strong legal capacities and tools in the extractive sector is more important than ever. And this is what the African Mining Legislation Atlas (AMLA) is all about.
AMLA was conceived and developed by the World Bank, the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), and the African Union Commission in 2013. It provides free access to the 53 existing mining codes of the continent in a reader-friendly and easily-searchable format.
During a recent AMLA capacity building workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, representatives from ALSF, the World Bank and Strathmore University, Extractives Industry Center and experts, trained African law students on the fundamentals of the mining sector and how to use the AMLA platform for legal research. The highlight of the workshop was the graduation of 36 students from 23 African universities across the region.
The workshop provided its participants an intensive program of lectures, presentations, field trips, and interactive group exercises which covered every dimension of the mining industry. The certificates awarded to the participating students represent a strong foundation in the emerging issues which will govern the future of the extractive industries, from transparency and corporate social responsibility to gender protection and labor rights.
“Making information readily available and easily accessible creates a level playing field between all interested parties. It also improves public participation and constructive dialogue through fact based exchange between governments, the public and investors,” explained Sheila Khama, Practice Manager of the World Bank’s Energy and Extractive Industries Global Practice, and a keynote speaker at the opening of the AMLA Workshop.
Also, attending the Nairobi workshop, were the nine members of the AMLA Legal Research Team (LRT) who were awarded certificates following their year-long contributions to the AMLA platform. The Legal Research Team includes advanced law students competitively selected from African universities. It was established to develop specialized expertise on the continent, and to populate the AMLA Platform with new national laws, regulations, and comparative features.
“I believe AMLA is important because it’s a platform which unites African lawyers—from different countries, different universities, and indeed different realities—in a space which facilitates the identification of shared solutions to shared problems,” said Kathleen Ubisse Capitine, a graduating member of the AMLA Legal Research Team (LRT).
The AMLA project was initially funded by the Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) multi-donor trust fund and housed by the World Bank. It was subsequently transferred to the African Legal Support Facility in July 2017.