Zanzibar – With the global financial crisis continuing to pose challenges for development institutions and effective partnerships to tackle poverty, food issues and shortfalls in agricultural productivity, the future and mandate of the Common Fund for Commodities, was one of the key issues of deliberation, when the Governing Council met in November 25-26 in Zanzibar.
H.E. Amani Karume, the President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council opened the meeting, which was hosted by the Government of United Republic of Tanzania.
In his statement, the President noted that the “Common Fund, as a member of the global development community, has been and remains a reliable development partner of Tanzania. Our commitment to work with the CFC is based on the understanding that the Fund remains the international focal point of commodity related development.”
Meanwhile, delegates from several member countries commended the management and the operation of the Fund, under the direction of Amb. Ali Mchumo.
In the run-up to the annual meeting, the Common Fund sponsored an international seminar on small scale artisanal mining, where over 50 participants heard about the latest efforts to shore up the industry; and to make it sustainable, durable, competitive, in order to integrate and mobilise it for national and regional poverty reduction strategies.
The mining sector has undergone steady growth with booming foreign investments and rising revenues. However, small-scale mining operations and enterprises in Africa have been plagued with many problems including low productivity, inadequate legal and regulatory framework, as well as low level application of rudimentary and inappropriate technology.
The industry has also been isolated from the mainstream of economic development planning, and the attendant adverse environmental effects, health and occupational hazards have emerged as serious issues that need to be addressed through strategic national policy interventions.
For the mining seminar, the Common Fund released a major report on small-scale mining in Africa, which served as background paper for the workshop. Seminar presenters included experts from the African Union Commission, CASM-World Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Wardell Armstrong LLP and the Pact Institute.
The report [PDF], Small-Scale Mining in Africa–A Case for Sustainable Livelihoods, is part of the Commodity Issues Series, prepared annually by the Fund on selected commodity topics. Published December 1, 2008.