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Zwane: 'under-mapped' Africa needs more, better mineral surveys

Oct 09 2017 19:06
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – Africa’s under-development goes hand-in-hand with the scant knowledge the continent has about the potential of its mineral resources, Mines Minister Mosebeni Zwane said on Monday.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of the Organisation of African Geological Surveys (OAGS) in Gaborone, Botswana, Zwane said multi-national companies continue to “grossly exploit” Africa through schemes such as base erosion and profit shifting, or 'BEPS'. 

According to the OECD, base erosion and profit sharing refer to "tax avoidance strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations".

Economists contracted by the Chamber of Mines, however, have said that global estimates of illicit financial flows are designed to overstate private sector complicity in underdevelopment, as City Press reported in August.

Zwane in his speech maintained that African companies are abused by multi-nationals because they have limited knowledge of geoscience, while the location of their mineral resources is “under-mapped”.

“In essence,” Zwane said, “geology is a pathfinder to attain the ideals of a developmental state, as it empowers decision-makers to negotiate better contracts (for the extraction of mineral resources).”

The Minister said African countries should “shift from high levels of international dependence” and rather direct their own development trajectory.

He called on the organisation, whose mandate includes assessing the continent's mineral resources, to develop the necessary knowledge so that Africa can become “completely independent”. 

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