The Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Caroline Rwivanga Kayonga, yesterday revealed that the mining sector lacks the necessary capacity required to boost the country’s mineral export base.
Kayonga made the remarks at the official opening of a three-day validation workshop that brings together experts from Eastern and Southern Africa to discuss the International Study Group’s framework report on mining regimes in Africa.
Citing last year’s 40 percent export earnings, the official noted that unless capacities to mine the available resources are built in the Rwandan mining sector, contribution to economic growth will still be low.
“Over the years, there has been low progress of this sector but in the past two years, major reforms such as improving the investment climate have been made in a bid to boost progress of the sector.
“Just like many other African countries, our major constraint is lack of capacity. First, we need experts to carry out the necessary research so that the mineral quantity is established.
We also lack skilled personnel to do the mining, and it is also imperative we devise ways to export value added minerals,” she explained.
The PS noted that the conference provided a great opportunity for African officials to validate a framework on the mining regimes, share knowledge on the common vision of boosting mining to contribute to Africa’s development.
The Director of the sub regional office for Eastern Africa in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Antonio Pedro, also concurred that capacity in the mineral sectors of Africa is still a perennial problem.
He added that this is one of the reasons why Africa’s potential is still not realized in many sectors, and advised countries to carry out geological mapping as this attracts investors who come with a clear assurance that the minerals are indeed available.
“Many countries also have another problem of negotiating with private investors. For this problem, organizations like UNDP have set aside resources to enable member states to tap into the mineral sectors.”
Officials will also discuss the best way to promote the activity without necessarily affecting their countries’ environment.
Delegates came from the African Union Commission, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the International Study Group, among others.