Summary on the Theme: Natural Resource Governance in Africa - 6th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa 22-23 April 2017, Ethiopia

The 6th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, is set to take place on 22-23 April 2017. The theme will mainly focus on “Natural Resource Governance in Africa”. In many ways, this will reflect the centrality of natural resources, both in historical as well as in contemporary times, in comprehending : i) the far-reaching implications on state-society relations within the continent, and ii) Africa’s disadvantageous position in global production and exchange since the earliest days of European penetration and colonialism. It also seeks to showcase how, over time, the exploitation of the continent’s rich and diverse natural resources, both on land and sea, have created several paradoxes; in particular, those leading to inequality and poverty, corruption, unemployment, environmental degradation, violent conflicts, and the elusive quest to realize Africa’s full developmental potential. While natural resources can serve as a critical national asset to lift citizens out of dire economic situations into sustainable development, the flip side is that “[Over] the last 60 years, in any particular year, between 40 and 60% of ongoing internal armed conflicts have been linked to natural resources”. Therefore, it is clear that one of the most important and contentious issues Africa currently faces in the natural resource sector, is how to reverse the misfortunes of exploitation and ‘bring governance back’ in ensuring that benefits accruing from the continent’s providential endowments create new opportunities and positive multiplier effects for both citizens and the state. The 6th Tana Forum will go beyond the conventional wisdom that places sole premium on the long-standing contradictions within the extractive ‘non-renewable’ sector (oil, gas and minerals) in understanding and explaining the challenges of resource governance in Africa.