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. 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 Initiatives, the Kimberley Process, and, regionally, the African 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 specified 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 ENRAG proposal is positioned to address the need to consider the impact of European raw materials policy on external partners, particularly in developing regions, and to strengthen the European Union’s objective of supporting good governance in African natural resource sectors.
Project activities and outputs
A policy dialogue was hosted on 4 February 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa on the sidelines of the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba (“Mining Indaba”). The Mining Indaba is the largest gathering of African extractives stakeholders spanning industry, government and civil society.
A special issue of the South African Journal of International Affairs was produced addressing the theme of African Extractives Sector Governance: Considering the role of the EU. Authors included researchers from both Africa and Europe.
A series of open-access policy briefs were produced outlining the key policy messages emerging from the journal articles:
- Enhancing EU resource governance interventions: A call for prioritising human security
- Challenges and opportunities for the EU in Africa’s extractives sector
- A win-win for Europe & Africa: Extractive justice & resource inter-dependency
- Business (not) for peace: A call for conflict-sensitive policy in fragile states