Call for papers: the EU’s normative role in African extractives governance

The current call for abstracts and associated workshop aims to strengthen the European Union’s objective of supporting improved governance in African natural resource sectors. This includes, but is not limited to, the implications of the Raw Materials Initiative for Africa.

The South African Institute of International Affairs is implementing a project called “The European Union’s Normative Role in African Extractives Governance”, funded through the Erasmus + / Jean Monnet Programme. As part of this project we would like to invite paper submissions for a special issue of the South African Journal of International Affairs (Taylor and Francis; ISSN 1022-0461).

Selected authors will be invited to participate in a workshop to be hosted on the sidelines of the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa during February 2019.

Key dates

  • Notification of paper acceptance: 14 October 2018
  • Deadline for paper submission: 30 September 2018
  • Workshop date/location: February 2019, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Publication of papers: 15 May 2019


The European Union is reliant on raw material imports from across the globe to support the region’s economic activity. At the same time, resource extraction has been associated with a range of negative social, political, economic and environmental consequences. Many African economies remain highly reliant on resource extraction; close to 80% of the continent’s exports are primary commodities. A near-consensus exists in the academic literature that these negative consequences are predominantly a function of weak institutions, and therefore poor governance. There has been progress, however, in regional and global responses to resource governance challenges, with the launch of a range of initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Kimberley Process, and, regionally, the Africa Mining Vision, the central continental framework to promote mineral resource-based development and structural transformation on the continent.

In 2008 the EU Commission adopted the Raw Materials Initiative, with three pillars: 1) Fair and sustainable supply of raw materials from global markets; 2) Sustainable supply of raw materials within the EU; and, 3) efficiency and supply of “secondary raw materials” through recycling. With particular reference to pillar 1, cooperation on raw materials was identified as one of the priority areas for collaboration between Africa and the EU in the Joint Africa EU Strategy Action Plan 2011-2013, with specific objectives stipulated in the Action Plan. The Roadmap 2014-2017, which emerged out of the 4th EU-Africa Summit (2014), reiterated the shared interest in cooperation in this area.


The Investing in Africa Mining Indaba (“Mining Indaba”) is the third largest mining conference in the world and the largest such conference in Africa. The Mining Indaba is convened annually in Cape Town, South Africa, during February. It is one of the most important opportunities for a range of global and African multilateral organizations, civil society organizations, industry experts, government representatives and researchers to engage on extractive industries governance. At the same time, the Alternative Mining Indaba is convened in Cape Town, which brings together a broad spectrum of civil society organizations and researchers concerned with extractive industry governance.

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), a leading African think tank, has for the past several years hosted successful side events that have brought together stakeholders from both the Mining Indaba and the Alternative Mining Indaba for constructive engagement across stakeholder groups in the interest of improved extractive sector governance. This project will build on this established record by convening a two-day conference that seeks to focus specifically on the European Union’s Normative Role in African Extractives Governance.

The two-day conference will be structured as follows:

  • Day one: Policy Forum

SAIIA has for the past number of years established important platforms for civil society, industry, academia and government representatives to engage on the sidelines of the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba. The policy forum is a key opportunity for researchers on EU-Africa relations to engage with extractive industry stakeholders from multilateral institutions, governments, industry and civil society, and explore the priorities of these stakeholders in relation to broader industry frameworks, particularly the African Mining Vision.

  • Day two: Academic Conference

The Academic Conference will follow from the policy forum and will be focused more directly on EU studies as it applies to the thematic focus on the EU’s normative role in African Extractives Governance. Discussion of the broad theme of the EU’s normative role in African extractives governance will be structured along three key themes of: 1) promoting good governance; 2) value chains and linkages; and, 3) environment.

Submission of papers

Please submit papers (approx. 6,000 to 8,000 words) together with a short biography to the Programme Head of SAIIA’s Governance of Africa’s Resources Programme, Alex Benkenstein ( with the phrase “ENRAG Abstract Submission” in the subject line. Refer to the ‘key dates’ section above for relevant deadlines.