The sixth Tana High-level Forum on Security in Africa opened today in the Bahir Dar city of Ethiopia, where the management of the continent's natural resources tops the agenda.
“The Forum has become a platform to nurture open dialogue on the continent's peace. Unless we manage our natural resources properly, they will become a source of contention,” said Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
He added: "If natural resources have to contribute to human development, they ought to be used productively. Natural resources need to be transformed to manufactured capital and human capital. Specific policies are needed for that to happen."
A 2016 African Development Bank report notes that over the past 60 years, 40 to 60 per cent of internal armed conflicts on the continent are related to natural resources.
The chairperson of the forum, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said that in 2016, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tunisia were among African countries that witnessed protests related to natural resources management.
The deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission, Thomas Kwesi Quartey said that Africa needs to focus on educating its youth in order to solve its major development challenges including natural resources governance.