While the countries of Central Africa within the Congo River Basin and bordering areas are home to Africa's greatest concentration of wealth in natural resources, they still count among the poorest nations on earth.
The Yaoundé conference will bring together the many actors involved and the interested public with the aim of promoting a strategy of sustainable, transparent economic management and good governance.
Conference objectives are to:
- Demonstrate just how vast the geological richness and potential of Central Africa's mineral resources actually are with an eye to implementing more efficient mining techniques while taking into account the latest prospecting findings.
- Identify what economic policy measures can best turn these abundant natural resources into a motor for driving sustainable economic and social development.
- Look at the economic, social and political conflicts that are brewing among the most powerful and weakest actors at local, national and international levels, and discuss how contrary interests and identities as well as misunderstandings, mistrust, inadequate transparency and inefficient infrastructure and processes trigger and exacerbate many conflicts.
- Show how regional partnerships such as the public-private partnership Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and civil society initiatives like Publish What You Pay and Global Witness can implement the goals of good governance and thereby achieve transparent and efficient regulation as well as correct financial accounting and reporting and fair taxation of the wealth reaped from natural resources.
- Explain how local and equitable partnerships between indigenous communities and informal operators of small mines on the one hand and international enterprises on the other are indeed possible, and how this wealth in mineral resources can ensure a sustainable future for those who these assets truly belong to and who actually do the extracting and processing.
- Define how the societal problem of infection with HIV can be actively combated at the local level. In those regions where social fringe groups eek out their livelihoods from mining, HIV and AIDS pose one of the greatest threats to public health along with the high risk of accidents due to inadequate occupational health and safety conditions and substandard tools and the glaring health hazards arising from use and release of dangerous chemicals.
Some 200 international experts from politics, science, the private sector and civil society will come together on 24 and 25 September in Yaoundé to wrestle with these issues. In six panel discussions and two plenary events, conference participants will discuss the various demands being placed on good governance and transparency in Central Africa's raw materials sector and the prerequisites that must be met, and seek answers to the challenges outlined above. The conference, which will be accompanied by an exhibition and various side events, will focus primarily on exchanging knowledge and experience and presenting best practices.
Registration is still possible. Please contact the conference secretariat. Attendance of the conference by invitiation only. The conference is hosted by the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) with the support of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through GTZ and BGR.
Visit the conference website www.yaounde2009.net for further information.