Occasional Papers | Extractives

Looking Back to The Future: Mining for Development in Africa

Mining is central to development progress in a number of African countries. Natural resource endowment has, however, produced suboptimal development outcomes in weakly institutionalised contexts.

This paper locates the extractive industries within the context of the Africa Mining Vision and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It examines the relevance of a number of policy recommendations that have emerged over the last decade to improve extractive industry governance and connect mining to development more broadly. New technologies, specifically energy and transport revolutions, will fuel demand for new types of minerals and metals. The paper concludes that linking countries’ resource endowments to the development of new technologies that could mine those minerals and metals more effectively may yield positive spillover effects. Many of the policy recommendations that have emerged over the last decade remain relevant to optimising future resource potential for development on the continent. Stable and predictable rules of the game, for instance, are irreplaceable governance elements that will ensure that the extractive industries become flywheels for industrialisation instead of enclaves disconnected from other economic sectors.