The President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, has been elected as the first President of the General Assembly of the ECOWAS Federation of Chambers of Mines (EFEDCOM). His election took place at the 2nd General Assembly meeting of the EFEDCOM held in Abuja, Nigeria.
The two-day event was attended by Chief Executive Officers and representatives of key mining associations from Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea as well as the ECOWAS Commission. Mr. Addo-Kufuor’s will guide the EFEDCOM’s strategic take-off.
Accepting the new role, Mr. Addo-Kufuor promised to bring his rich experience in the mining industry to bear on the development of the Federation. He thanked the member associations for the confidence reposed in him and called for greater partnership in the execution of the EFEDCOM’s mandate.
He called for effective collaboration among the member chambers and their respective countries to harness the mineral potential in West Africa. “It is time for us to work together; collaborate to exploit our minerals for the benefit of our respective stakeholders, communities and countries because these God-given minerals can form a catalyst for growth,” he added.
“Let us be in a hurry because this event should have happened 30 years ago and therefore let us move quickly,” Mr. Addo-Kufuor stated. He revealed that membership of the Federation is open to other chambers and mining associations in West Africa. Mr. Addo-Kufuor will continue to hold his position as the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines and the Chief Finance Officer of Newmont Africa.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, speaking in an address read on his behalf by the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry, stressed the need for West African countries to collaborate on data sharing as a means to developing the regions mining and minerals sector.
He said: “We have common challenges as miners being that the region has common geological and geographical setting,” adding that the countries should collaborate in terms of geological survey and data to grow the mining industry in the member states.
“The Geological setting of West Africa is identical, so it will be desirable if West African countries will collaborate on their respective geological surveys such that any data taken from one country and interpreted could be relevant across the region. That would solve a lot of problems,” he stressed.
On his part, the Executive Director of the ECOWAS Federation of Chambers of Mines, Mr. Sulemanu Koney, who doubles as the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines noted that the question of how the mining industry can be leveraged to contribute more deeply and broadly to sustainable development has been at the fore of conversations both globally and nationally. He stated that: “whilst the industry has been seen as a source of revenue, it is now being challenged to create the necessary linkages with other sectors to identify the avenues for collaboration to support broad based economic growth besides the payment of corporate tax, Royalties and dividends.”
He maintained that as clearly stipulated in the ECOWAS minerals development Policy and the African Mining Vision, deliberate strategies must be adopted by host countries to integrate the mining sector more deeply into their respective economies.
“Research has shown that to optimize the benefit of the mining industry, host countries need to collaborate with players to increase local content, which generally falls within the broad categories of local procurement, local employment, local project financing, local equity financing and local value addition” he said
Mr. Koney asserted that: “Sustaining the growth of the mining industry in the sub region, in a manner that ensures broad based socio economic development, requires the commitment of governments of member states to implement policies that will ensure progress on each of the elements of local content.”
“We cannot underestimate the importance of our collaborative efforts in reinforcing West Africa as the hub of mining in Africa, now more than ever. West Africa is attracting significant investments into its mining industry, which is indicative of the prospectivity of the sub region,” he added.
Other officials were elected as members of the Executive Council of the Federation. These were: Mr. Chaikou Yaya Diallo from Guinea as Chairman; Mr. Alhaji Mohammed Sani Shehu from Nigeria as Vice Chairman; and Mr. Toussaint Bamouni of Burkina Faso as Treasurer. Ghana was earlier affirmed by member states as the host of the permanent Secretariat of the EFEDCOM.
The newly elected Vice Chairman of the Federation and President of the Nigeria Miners Association, Alhaji Shehu Sani, said effective collaboration can be achieved if member associations can come up with a “mechanism for the articulation of the concerns, challenges, observations and solutions coming out from member nations and channelling same to higher authorities for consideration.”
He further urged the membership of the EFEDCOM to work together to realise the vision of capitalising on mining to achieve economic and social transformation in West Africa.
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