A forum to share knowledge and understanding of current challenges and opportunities in the West African region on attracting responsible mining investment and sustainable development has been convened by a body of over 80 West Africans who have previously attended Australian-funded mining courses.
The forum which held on 27 April in Accra, had Honourable John Peter Amewu, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, delivered the keynote speech at the “Investing in West African mining for sustainable regional development,” alongside several other notable speakers including Mr Henry Antwi, Head of Mining and Metals at Oman Oil Company, and Dr Kojo Busia Coordinator African Minerals Development Centre.
The West African Alumni Forum focussed on themes of investment promotion, regulatory frameworks and incentives, political risks, social license to operate, local content, and transparency of information.
Alumni representing governments, civil society, academia and industry from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo were able to network and share experiences on mining investment and sustainable development in West Africa.
The forum was organised by a team of West African alumni and hosted by Australia’s Minerals and Energy for Development Alliance (MEfDA) with support by the Australian Government.
“Australia is pleased to support development of the necessary skills in Ghana through our various scholarship programs and exchanges. Through their studies and experiences in Australia, Australian alumni bring cutting edge knowledge and skills to their jobs in the mining industry to the huge benefit of their countries.” The High Commissioner noted that, “Ghana has much untapped natural resource potential and if well-managed development of these resources could drive employment and growth and set Ghana up for a strong future. That is why we are very encouraged by the Akufo-Addo Government’s commitment to implement the economic and social reforms required to produce jobs and growth.” Mr Andrew Barnes, Australian High Commissioner, said in his opening remarks.
Australia has a long history of providing capacity-building support to countries across Africa. Participants at today’s event have benefitted from courses in mining and mining governance. The Alumni Forum was a significant opportunity to develop and strengthen the partnership between Australia and West Africa in this important sector.