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Museveni in Bahir Dar for security forum on natural resources

 

President Museveni (middle) arrived this morning at Bahir Dar Airport and was received by Ethiopias’ Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (left)

President Yoweri Museveni is in Bahir Dar, Ethiopias’ second largest city, for the 6th TANA high-level forum on security in Africa that will focus on natural resources.

Africa’s natural resource endowments stand at 12% of global oil reserves, 40% of global gold deposits, and about two thirds of the world‟s most suitable land for farming and forests.

Unfortunately, African experts say, the continent has not been able to fully maximise the developmental benefits that should have accrued from exploiting the resources.

At this forum, African leaders are stoking their efforts to protect the continents vast natural resources amidst mind-boggling challenges including conflicts, a population explosion, land degradation and the foreign exploitation of the continents’ rich and diverse natural resources among other things.

The forum will focus on the theme of “Natural Resource Governance in Africa”, reflecting the centrality of natural resources, both in historical as well as in contemporary times. It also seeks to showcase the exploitation of the continent’s rich and diverse natural resources, both on land and sea, have created several paradoxes; in particular, those leading to inequality and poverty, corruption, unemployment, environmental degradation, violent conflicts, and the elusive quest to realise Africa’s full developmental potential.

According to reports, the mispricing of natural resources in Africa leads to the loss of $50 billion per year, more than Africa‟s combined foreign direct investment and overseas development aid. In addition, according to an Oxfam estimate, more than US$18 billion per year is lost through resource-related conflicts in Africa, not including indirect costs.

One of the contentious issues Africa faces in the natural resource sector is how to reverse the misfortunes of exploitation and “bring governance back” in ensuring that benefits accruing from the continent’s providential endowments create new opportunities and positive multiplier effects for citizens and the state.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo who is the chairman of the Forum’s advisory board, has called on African governments to improve their negotiation skills to ensure that their citizens get the best deal from mining and oil drilling companies operating in their countries.

President Museveni arrived Saturday morning for the meeting and was received by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Uganda’s Ambassador to Addis Ababa, Mull Katende.

Why the TANA Forum?

The Tana Forum promotes African-led solutions by holding discussions on the strategic and pro-active management of African peace and security issues driven by the interest to contribute to stronger ownership of these issues.

The Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa is an annual meeting that brings together African leaders and stakeholders to engage and explore African-led security solutions. Currently in its 6th edition the Forum is at the forefront of initiating dialogue with the continent’s policymakers and influencers.

“Frank, relevant and candid dialogue is fundamental to resolving conflict and transforming societies,” explains TANA organisers.

The Forum complements formal meetings of African heads of state and government by assembling them in an informal, collaborative environment. In the spirit of gatherings taking place under the Baobab tree, the Forum offers room and space for panel discussions, interaction with the floor and bilateral talks to share views and experiences in a time efficient, results-oriented and open manner.

 

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