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Africa must control its resources

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THE final text at COP 28, Dubai, was able to secure a majority consensus within the 200 attending countries to include language to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels, which are responsible for nearly 90 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the UN. It also calls to ‘phase down’ the ‘unabated’ use of coal.

So, African countries will be expected to comply; we do not know how much support the so-called developing nations, who are the least emitters, will really get.

Most important for Africa is the direction which we must take, as a continent, without undue influence. Africa will only thrive, in the midst of climate change, through ownership and control of its resources. It is time Africa come together and prioritise beneficiation of its natural resources to increase value and support industrialisation.

If Africa is not to be dictated to, Africans should take control of their natural resources for the benefit of their populations after centuries of exploitation by Western countries and their continued manoeuvres to plunder these resources.

It is time for Africa to be proactive in using her resources for her developmental objectives, bearing in mind that African resources have, hitherto, been predominantly foreign-owned and exploited, with little benefit to Africans.

The continent’s resources have, until now, been exploited primarily as raw materials, with very little beneficiation taking place. 

Zimbabwe has already embarked on empowerment initiatives that are designed to benefit disadvantaged locals.

Zimbabwe’s implementation of resource nationalism has angered Westerners who, even at one time, contemplated militarily invading the country. Total resource ownership is no easy route for the exploiters who respond in a most brutal way.

It is time we end unnecessary conflict on the continent.

If we arrest the scourge of conflicts, a bright future for Africa becomes a reality and the continent will be fully capable of exploiting her own resources for developmental purposes.

Estimates are that Africa loses more than US$10 billion per annum through conflicts. 

The continent loses even more if we factor in resources siphoned out from us by our erstwhile colonisers during times of military conflict, as well as the loss of human capital as our skilled manpower is sometimes forced to seek seemingly greener pastures abroad.

African countries must unite in resolving their domestic affairs without outside interference.

The time to demonstrate a will of common purpose, if the battle against the evils of foreign intervention and its attendant latter-day scramble for Africa is to be won, is now. 

As climate change impacts continue to hit us hard, it is time for Africa to accept primary responsibility and behave in a manner that should exclude the requirement for others to intervene in our affairs. 

This is the time we should take responsibility for our omissions and remedy the mistakes which we would have made.

African countries should take a leaf from Zimbabwe and demand full ownership and involvement in the exploitation of their resources following decades of extraction by Western governments and multinational companies.

Yes, the conference started on a positive note with the approval of a climate disaster “…loss and damage fund…” that was first tabled at COP27 in Egypt last year.

The fund is meant to support vulnerable communities and developing nations which are struggling to cope with the impact of climate disasters, such as the destruction of crops caused by floods. 

However, experience has shown us that developed nations have not been willing to extend meaningful monetary support for mitigation and adaptation purposes.

For development, Africa must rely on itself.

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