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A Fair Deal for Africa’s Resources

WINDHOEK – Namibia is a resource-based economy that has embarked on an ambitious development program. Our vision is to turn Namibia into a knowledge-based, diversified economy by 2030.

One of the major principles upon which this vision is based is the idea of “partnerships” – a major prerequisite for the achievement of dynamic, efficient, and sustainable development. Partnerships between governments and foreign investors are at the core of the sound management of natural resources. But such partnerships can’t be taken for granted on a continent where the quest for natural resources has fueled decades of violent conflict.

Genuine partnership is difficult to achieve when resource-rich countries view foreign mining and drilling companies only as adversaries, seeking unfair and inequitable contracting agreements. From the perspective of companies, partnership is unattractive when they are forced to incur large losses owing to project disruptions and contract renegotiations.

By contrast, partnerships are strengthened if companies and governments recognize their shared interest in durable, mutually beneficial contracts that ensure stable revenue streams from projects. This requires a framework that takes into account, among other things, developmental possibilities, environmental concerns, labor conditions, and community interests, and that is adaptable to changing circumstances.