Government Geoscience and Exploration in the Economic Development of Western Africa
- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Book Reviews, Commodities, Exploration, Mineral Economics, Mineral Policy, Mining
Today I have uploaded a presentation I gave in May to the Western African Exploration Initiative (WAXI) Stage 2 Outcomes Seminar, entitled: “The Role of Government Geoscience and Minerals Exploration in the Economic Development of West Africa“. The presentation provided context for the excellent geoscience presented later in the seminar. The presentation also makes reference to Paul Collier’s two excellent books on “The Bottom Billion” and “The Plundered Planet”.
Most of Western Africa remains very poor, with a populace amongst the ‘Bottom Billion’ of the world. Unlike the rapidly developing low- and middle-income countries in Asia and South America, many of these Bottom Billion countries will struggle to develop via the conventional low cost manufacturing and export route. These countries can remain trapped in poverty, with the ‘resource curse’ being one of the common traps. Resources however can also be a route to economic development. Although countries trapped by the resource curse have economies dominated by resources, this is not unusual, resources are fairly evenly distributed around the world (though obviously they vary by type), thus the resource curse is more a lack of diversity in the economy, than dominance by mineral resources. The aim is to grow the economy, first by developing and exploiting the easily accessible mineral resources and then using these to stimulate development of a broader economy. An important part of developing a minerals-based economy is first discovering as much of the mineral resource as possible. This is where government geoscience and programmes such as WAXI fit in. Not only does this government assisted minerals discovery help attract private investors, but also allow governments to negotiate fairly over the exploration licences, as more is known about the mineral resource being negotiated over.
The presentation is also included below: