Africa has continued to lose large amounts of money from its natural resources resulting in perpetual poverty on the continent, says Zambia’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Vincent Mwale.
Speaking on the sidelines of the SADCOPAC and EAAPAC accountability conference held in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Mwale said Africa had been robbed for a long time by people who are exploiting its resources.
“We have these mines since 1935 but when you look around in this nation, what has been the benefit from these mines? Citizens are asking questions, how much are we realizing from all the mineral resources that we have in this nation?” Mr Mwale questioned.
He said it was important for African nations to discuss how best they can benefit from their resources.
“This is a question which many citizens in African countries are asking. So as public accounts committees which should discuss how best we can handle the challenges of transparency and accountability in the extractive industry and management of all natural resources in Africa,
“As the appetite for natural resources is growing by developing nations, this will be done at the expense of our own countries. People will be getting a lot of resources, but then leave behind poverty.
We want to work together, to come up with strategies together as Africa and see how much we can get from our resources.” said Mr Mwale
He said there was need to closely monitor operations of the mines. “Imagine up to now we have to rely on the mines themselves to give us data on what has been produced and what has been exported and where they are exporting to and that’s not the ideal situation. They bring in equipment and give us their own price units,” he said.
And deputy speaker of the National Assembly Mr Mkhondo Lungu observed that the natural resource endowment of the region had not translated into tangible benefits for the people.