Policy makers and experts from five West African countries will meet in Accra in August this year to deliberate on inequalities and natural resource management in the sub-region.
Drawn from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Senegal, they would address the role that natural resource management could play in reducing widening economic and social disparities in the region.
The two-day high-level conference Slated for August 16 to 20, was being organised by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) and other partners.
Ahead of the event, a pre-conference consultation was held in Accra yesterday to solicit views from key stakeholders from Ministries, Department and Agencies and private sectors to firm up preparations.
It was also to set the pace for the preparation of conference papers that would lay out the inequality problem, policy options and take stock of drivers of inequality, mitigating actions and natural resource dependence.
Addressing participants, the NDPC Director-General, DrKodjoEssiem Mensah-Abrampa, said the conference was expected to bring visibility to policy makers on the nexus between natural resource dependence and multiple inequalities.
He said it would help seek better understanding and contribute to knowledge and highlight measures to enhance equitable, and green development through natural resource management in the region.
He said the equal distribution of mineral resources to better the lot of the people had been a challenge in the sub-region and if not addressed would affect the socio-economic development of Africa in general.
“Mineral resources are an asset; if you don’t handle it well, it will become a liability”, he said.
Dr Mensah-Abrampasaid after more than three centuries of mining in Africa, there was little to show, especially when mining communities like Obuasi and others in other countries had not seen significant development.
He said the conference would pave the way for discussions on issues including accountability, gender aspects and equitable distributions, identify policy directions and proffer solutions.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR