New Zimbabwe.com

Resource looting conference set for Harare

By Robert Tapfumaneyi


Centre for Natural Resource Governance, in conjunction with Sapes Trust and Southern African Resource Watch, will be holding a one day regional conference on resource looting in Harare.

The conference will bring together close to 70 participants from government, civil society, mining companies, organised labour, and local communities.

The objective, according to organisers, is to understand the goings on within SADC countries, with a view to exposing the corrupt networks that exist.

The indaba will also seek to provide clear recommendations on how SADC countries, individually and collectively, can prevent resource looting.

“The Resource Curse or the Paradox of Plenty is the contradiction of resource abundance juxtaposed against extreme poverty and often caused by bad governance as ruling elites uses political power to amass wealth through corruption and use the corruptly acquired wealth to retain power,” the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) said in a statement Monday.

“Often, government attention is diverted from other critical sectors of the economy and focus is put on looting and enabling looting by proxies.

“In most, resource endowed SADC countries, with the exception of a few, natural resource abundance has not translated into wealth for the country.

“Rent seeking behaviour by politicians, bad contract negotiation skills, absence of functioning regulatory institutions, tax evasion, poor labour practices, money laundering and organised crime have all been reported in the SADC region.”

CNRC said there was growing concern among citizens in SADC that natural resource looting has reached alarming levels and that governments and citizens must confront the scourge together and urgently.

“The conference brings together distinguished speakers and researchers from seven countries in SADC – Angola, Botswana, DRC, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe who will unpack the political economy of resource looting and proffer possible solutions on what SADC can do to ensure natural resource abundance is a blessing and not a curse, CNRG said.

”In addition to the speakers there will be an equally well informed audience comprising of those who have spent considerable time working on the extractive sector.”

Zimbabwe is among the most corrupt countries in the world, according to global indexes, with a lot of its resources often siphoned by cartels linked to the ruling elite with no consequences.

Rich diamond deposits were discovered in Marange, Manicaland 2006 with government sending troops to drive away hundreds of people who invaded the area to extract the life changing gem.

Then Mines Minister Obert Mpofu admitted the diamonds which were in Marange alone could virtually end the country’s financial troubles but Zimbabweans still suffer up to date.