Zimbabwe has vast mineral resources, but ordinary citizens have not benefited much from them. Therefore the call made at the ongoing African for Results Forum by Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa on Monday this week to have African countries adopt modern mining models which create jobs and opportunities for the next generation is a welcome move.
Chidhakwa openly admitted that the mining structures being used in many African countries were adopted over 100 years ago during the colonial period to give foreigners access to our vast mineral resources. However, these are simply no longer sustainable.
While Africa received 40% in taxes in 2011 from the extractive industry, profits of 110% by international companies operating on the continent shows that the model is not good for Africa.
From the statistics, it is clear that African governments, Zimbabwe included, must realign their mining laws.
If you get primary jobs, you build primary incomes that do not beget middle incomes which are ordinarily a driver of economic growth.
This explains why Africa, despite being well endowed with natural resources, remains poor and relies on food handouts and donations. It boggles the mind why Africa has remained a charitable case notwithstanding all its natural resource riches.
There is need for the country to revise its mining models and focus on value addition as a way of stimulating economic growth. The colonial system only established Africa as a source of raw materials which would then be shipped and processed in their respective countries, creating employment and stimulating industrial growth at the expense of Africa.
What is worse is that the multinational companies mining in the country are not remitting enough to government. At times, they actually hire experts to falsify production figures so that they remit less and less to government.
Other mining companies extract 24 hours a day to make sure by a certain period, there will be nothing left underground.
The Zanu PF government, through its recently crafted economic blueprint, ZimAsset, has promised to focus on beneficiation. This is a positive move and we call upon government to implement this with speed and sustainably so that we create new industries that will employ our jobless youths.
Government should do away with partisan implementation of such national projects that are set to transform the economic outlook of the country.
Let us undo our past and think ahead. Minister Chidakwa’s observation is a welcome development, but it should be accompanied by actions to correct our sad past and create a better Zimbabwe for our children.