Connect with us
Advertisement

Africa loses US$100 billion to illicit capital, illegal financial flows

Africa has been open for investments for a while and mining in Africa has been going on for centuries but Africa’s openness has led to vulnerability resulting into capital and illicit financial flows which lead to Africa losing in excess of US$100billiuon annually.

This was revealed by Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the African Union Commission when giving key note address at the Africa Mining Summit held in Gaborone this week. The summit was hosted by GRV Global, an event management company in partnership with the African Union Commission Department of Trade and Industry and the Government of Botswana.

Held under the theme, “The Advancement of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) through technologies”, the event engaged on key matters affecting the lucrative mining industry which is the backbone of many African economies.  It focused on key discussions such as how new explorations and junior mining companies can leverage on technology and innovation to better benefit from the mineral value chains.

However it emerged that in Africa developing its mining industries billions of dollars continue to fly of its boarders “Our openness has led to vulnerability resulting into capital and illicit financial flows stating that Africa loses a lot of money that could otherwise be used for the betterment of the lives of its citizens. It is our duty to put an end the illicit financial flows,” said Commissioner Muchanga.

He further said Africa has been having weak regulatory frameworks and poor compliance enforcement mechanisms for the lucrative mining sector which is worth trillions. Muchanga shared that the Africa Mining Summit was happening at a critical time when the African Union Assembly adopted and launched the most ambitious and biggest Free Trade Area in the world, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He emphasized that the establishment of the AfCFTA will bring concrete opportunities to market players in the African mining and related sectors as it will create an integrated market of 1.2 billion people supported by an aggregate economy of about US$3.4 trillion.  The AU representative underscored the key role that can be played by the mineral resources in the social and economic structural transformation of Africa to lead into win-win situation and inclusive growth.

“We all know how the sector can create skilled and decent and non-skilled employment for the young people and wealth for countries”.  Muchanga also pointed out that African Union Commission sees great scope in the summit mobilizing investments and providing solutions to the challenges facing the mining industry in Africa.

“Africa Mining Summit is as a vehicle in mobilizing the Private Sector to implement the Africa Mining Vision (AMV). We need to see value addition and downstream beneficiation taking place in our countries. We need to see upstream beneficiation along global and regional minerals supply and value chains”, he said.


Giving welcome remarks at the fully attended event staged at Gaborone Avani Hotel, Mr. Andrew Dowel, CEO of GRV Global, expressed his gratitude to the African Union Commission for the partnership and for steadfastly supporting GRV Globe’s efforts in producing the Africa Mining Summit.

He pointed out that mining companies operate in complex geographies where they face increasing challenges in responding to regulatory and compliance requirements. He emphasized the fact that mining companies are also required to adapt to changing market conditions while adopting new innovations as they seek to produce more for less cost.

Dowel said the Africa Mining Vision seeks to actively promote the integration of Africa’s mining sector into national economic and social activities. “We need to think outside the box in order to maximize the continent’s resources wealth”. Officially opening the summit Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Eric Molale said Botswana was a preferred destination for investments that take the rule of law seriously and had robust financial regulatory oversight bodies.

“All our mineral resources are exploited for the benefit of our citizens. It is a win-win situation that encourages Foreign Direct Investment,” he stated. Molale underlined that Botswana has put in place the ease of doing business reforms which he said reduce bureaucracy and avoid corruption. “This enables investors to do business without fear and encourage growth,” he said.

Molale submitted that Africa must be determined to ensuring future export of fully beneficiated mineral resources onto world seaborne markets but admitted that this will continue to depend largely on the logistical infrastructure establishment through international and local investment in the continent. He stressed on the need to have Regional Value Chains giving an example of Botswana which is a Diamond processing Hub for the region not only for Botswana.

The Africa Mining Summit 2018 was attended by High Level Political Authorities from across Africa including the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources of Sierra Leone, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources of Ghana, the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development of Zimbabwe and the Permanent Secretariat of National Minerals Commission of the Ministry of Mines and Quarries of Burkina Faso.

The Summit comprises of a two-day conference which includes, Keynote presentations and panel discussions on all aspects related to the Continent’s ongoing mining and minerals efforts. The Event brings together suppliers around the world who are looking to sell to the mining corporates, mining corporates who seek investment, investors who want to strike deals and African Government Ministers and Private Sector who engage all groups to discuss new opportunities in their respective countries and Africa as a whole.

Continue Reading

News

Civil Service volatility: Democracy vs Bureaucracy

19th April 2021
President Masisi

Here is how one Permanent Secretary encapsulates the clear tension between democracy and bureaucracy in Botswana: “President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s Government is behaving like a state surrounded with armed forces in order to capture it or force its surrender. The situation has turned so volatile, for tomorrow is not guaranteed for us top civil servants.

These are the painful results of a personalized civil service in our view as permanent secretaries”. Although his deduction of the situation may be summed as sour grapes because he is one of the ‘victims’ of the reshuffle, he is convinced this is a perfect description of the rationale behind frequent changes and transfers characterising the current civil service.

The result of it all, he said, is that “there is too much instability at managerial and strategic levels of the civil service leading to a noticeable directionless civil service.” He continued: “Changes and transfers are inevitable in the civil service, but to a permissible scale and frequency. Think of soccer team coach who changes and transfers his entire squad every month; you know the consequences?”

The Tsunami has hit hard at critical departments and Ministries leaving a strong wave of uncertainty, many demoralised and some jobless. In traditional approaches to public administration, democracy gives the goals; and bureaucracy delivers the technical efficiency required for implementation. But the recent moves in the civil service are indicative of conflicting imperatives – the notion of separation between politicians and administrators is becoming blurred by the day.

“Look at what happened to Prisons and BDF where second in command were overlooked for outsiders, and these are the people who had sacrificially served for donkey’s years hoping for a seat at the ladder’s end. The frequency of the changes, at times affecting the same Ministry or individual also demonstrates some level of ineptitude, clumsiness and lack of foresight from those in charge,” remarked the PS who added that their view is that the transfers are not related to anything but “settling scores, creating corruption opportunities and pushing out perceived dissident and former president, Ian Khama’s alleged loyalists and most of these transfers are said to be products of intelligence detection.”

Partly blaming Khama for the mess and his unwillingness to let go, the PS dismissed Masisi for falling to the trap and failing to outgrow the destructive tiff. “Khama is here to stay and the sooner Masisi comes to terms with the fact that he (Masisi) is the state President, the better. For a President to still be making these changes and transfers signals signs of a confused man who has not yet started rolling his roadmap, if at all it was ever there. I am saying this because any roadmap comes with key players and policies,” he concluded.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness seems to be the most hard-hit by the transfers, having experienced three Permanent Secretaries changes within a year and a half. Insiders say the changes have everything to do with the Ministry being the centre of COVID-19 tenders and economic opportunities. “The buck stops with the PS and no right-thinking PS can just allow glaring corruption under his watch as an accounting officer. Technocrats are generally law abiding, the pressure comes with politically appointed leaders racing against political terms to loot,” revealed a director in the Ministry preferring anonymity.

The latest transfer of Kabelo Ebineng she says was also motivated by his firm attitude against the President’s blue-eyed Task Team boys. “The Task Team wants to own the COVID-19 pandemic and government interventions and always cry foul when the Ministry reasserts itself as mandated by law,” said the director who added that Masisi who was always caught between the crossfire decided on sacrificing Ebineng to the joy of his team as they (Task Team) were in the habit of threatening to resign citing Ebineng as the problem.

Ebineng joins the Office of the President as a deputy Coordinator (government implementation and coordination office).The incoming PS is the soft-spoken Grace Muzila, known and described by her close associates as a conformist albeit knowledgeable.

One of the losers in the grand scheme is Thato Raphaka who many had seen as the next PSP because of his experience and calm demeanour following a declaration of interest in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretary post by the current PSP, Elias Magosi.

But hardly ten months into his post, Raphaka has been transferred out to the National Strategy Office in what many see as a demotion of some sort. Other notable changes coming into OP are Pearl Ramokoka formerly with the Employment, Labour and Productivity Ministry coming in as a Permanent Secretary and Kgomotso Abi as director of Public Service Reforms.

One of the ousted senior officers in the Office of the President warned that there are no signs that the changes and transfers will stop anytime soon: “If you are observant you would have long noticed that the changes don’t only affect senior officers but government decisions as well. A decision is made today and the government backtracks on it within a week. Not only that, the President says this today, and his deputy denies it the following day in Parliament,” he warned.

Some observers have blamed the turmoil in the civil service partly to lack of accountable presidential advisers or kitchen cabinet properly schooled on matters of statecraft. They point out that politicians or those peripheral to them should refrain from hampering the technical and organizational activities of public managers – or else the party (reshuffling) won’t stop.

In the view expressed by some Permanent Secretaries, Elias Magosi, has not really been himself since joining the civil service; and has cut a picture of indifference in most critical engagements; the most notable been a permanent secretaries platform which he chairs. As things stand there is need to reconcile the imperatives of democracy and democracy in Botswana. Peace will rein only when public value should stand astride the fault that runs between politicians and public managers.

Continue Reading

News

Morupisi fights for freedom in court

19th April 2021
morupisi

Former Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi, is fighting for survival in a matter in which the State has charged him and his wife, Pinnie Morupisi, with corruption and money laundering.

Morupisi has joined a list of prominent figures that served in the previous administration and who have been accused of corruption during their tenure in office. While others have been emerging victorious, Morupisi is yet to find that luck. The High Court recently dismissed his no case to answer application.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading

News

Pressure mounts on Biden to suspend Covid-19 vaccine patents

19th April 2021
Joe Biden

United States President, Joe Biden, is faced with a decision to make relating to the Covid-19 vaccine intellectual property after 175 former world leaders and Nobel laurates joined the campaign urging the US to take “urgent action” to suspend intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines to help boost global inoculation rates.

According to the world leaders, doing so would allow developing countries to make their own copies of the vaccines that have been developed by pharmaceutical companies without fear of being sued for intellectual property infringements.

“A WTO waiver is a vital and necessary step to bringing an end to this pandemic. It must be combined with ensuring vaccine know-how and technology is shared openly,” the signatories, comprising more than 100 Nobel prize-winners and over 70 former world leaders, wrote in a letter to US President Joe Biden, according to Financial Times.

A measure to allow countries to temporarily override patent rights for Covid related medical products was proposed at the World Trade Organization by India and South Africa in October, and has since been backed by nearly 60 countries.

Former leaders who signed the letter included Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister; François Hollande, former French President; Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the USSR; and Yves Leterme, former Belgian Prime Minister.

In their official communication, South Africa and India said: “As new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines for Covid-19 are developed, there are significant concerns [about] how these will be made available promptly, in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices to meet global demand.”

While developed countries have been able to secure enough vaccine to inoculate their citizens, developing countries such as Botswana are struggling to source enough to swiftly vaccine their citizens, something which world leaders believe it would work against global recovery therefore proving counter-productive.

Since the availability of vaccines, Botswana has been able to secure only 60 000 doses of vaccines, 30 000 as donation as from the Indian government, while the other 30 000 was sourced through COVAX facility.  Canada, has pre-ordered vaccines in surplus and it will be able to vaccinate each of its citizens six times over. In the UK and US, it is four vaccines per person; and two each in the EU and Australia.

For vaccines produced in Europe, developing countries are forced to pay double what European countries are paying, making it more expensive for already financially struggling economies.  European countries however justify the price of vaccines and that they deserve to buy them cheap since they contributed in their development.

It is evident that vaccines cannot be made available immediately to all countries worldwide with wealthy economies being the only success story in that regard, something that has been referred to as a “catastrophic moral failure”, head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The challenge facing developing countries is not only the price, but also the capacity of vaccine manufactures to be able to do so to meet global demand within a short time. The proposal for a patent waiver by India and South Africa has been rejected by developed countries, known for hosting the world leading pharmaceutical companies such US, European Union, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.

According to the Financial Times, US business groups including pharmaceutical industry representatives, have urged Biden to resist supporting a waiver to IP rules at the WTO, arguing that the proposal led by India and South Africa was too “vague” and “broad”.

The individuals who signed the letter, including Nobel laureates in economics as well as from across the arts and sciences, warned that inequitable vaccine access would impact the global economy and prevent it from recovering.

“The world saw unprecedented development of safe and effective vaccines, in major part thanks to US public investment,” the group wrote. “We all welcome that vaccination rollout in the US and many wealthier countries is bringing hope to their citizens.”

“Yet for the majority of the world that same hope is yet to be seen. New waves of suffering are now rising across the globe. Our global economy cannot rebuild if it remains vulnerable to this virus.”
The group warned that fully enforcing IP was “self-defeating for the US” as it hindered global vaccination efforts. “Given artificial global supply shortages, the US economy already risks losing $1.3tn in gross domestic product this year.”

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!