East African Community countries have been challenged to fully adopt African Mining Vision (AMV) principles and values that outline transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources in the region.
The AMV, which was formally adopted by African heads of state in 2009, has not achieved its target as member countries are struggling with illicit financial flows, lack of mineral value addition and poverty among communities living in mining areas.
Regional civil society organisations initiated a project to push the East African Legislative Assembly to adopt the AMV values that call for free prior informed consent and transparency in mining agreements and revenues accrued from extractives, among other principles.
The Natural Resources Alliance of Kenya, Uganda-based Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) and Tanzania’s Haki Madini have partnered to popularise the document.
Haki Madini programme officer Oliver Balilo said there is a need to educate communities where minerals have been discovered before they give consent.
Public participation has been neglected by both government and investors resulting in disputes in the mining regions.
“Across Africa, communities have been sidelined in giving their input before consent is given and a mining license issued,” said Ms Balilo.
AFIC executive director Gilbert Sendugwa said environmental issues have been ignored by mining companies.
“Health issues have been reported in mining areas because of lack of pollution control measures. If AMV principles and values are adopted and enforced, they will streamline the extractive sector,” he said.