NAIROBI, KENYA, JAN 19 — Kenya is among five African countries bidding to host the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC), which is currently hosted at the African Union Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu, expressed optimism that Kenya is well placed to win the bid to host the centre.
The AMDC, Kazungu said,will boost creation of jobs in the country.
According to the CS, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s support for the sector has expedited reforms that are geared towards transforming the Mining and Extractives Sector into a leading revenue earner for the country.
The AMDC is tasked with supporting African countries in holistic and comprehensive approaches towards designing and implementing concrete practical Africa Mining Vision reforms.
This includes ensuring mineral resources play a transformational role in inclusive growth and reduction of poverty, strengthening partnerships to as well as helping to manage mining performance across Africa.
Kenya has set aside $1million( about Ksh102.8 ) from the 2016/2017 financial year budget to support the initiative.
“In 2016, the cabinet gave the green light for Kenya to formerly bid to host the African Union’s AMDC, the top mining policy body in Africa,” Kazungu said.
Delegates from the African Union — Dr. Frank Mugyenyi, senior advisor, Trade and Industry and Kami Omale, (legal officer), this week visited Nairobi for a two-day re-evaluation of the country’s status in respect to her bid to host the Centre.
The duo said Kenya’s mining sector would benefit great from having the centre should it win the bid. Kenya’s contenders in the bid to host the AMDC include Zambia, Guinea, Mali and Sudan.
According to the hosting criteria adopted by the African Union heads of state in 2005, the hosting country should ultimately meet requirements such as a conducive political environment and adequate logistical facilities.
Kazungu expressed optimism that Kenya was well placed to win the bid to host the AMDC taking cognizance of the country’s stable and sustainable political atmosphere, the strategic geographical location as a regional hub with an elaborate international connectivity to seven international airports.
In addition, the country’s well-developed infrastructure, tarmacked road network of more than 14,000 kilometres, modernized port facilities and the Standard Railway Gauge (SGR) were an added advantage.
“It is lamentable that Africa loses USD 80 billion annually to illicit trade. The establishment of the centre will greatly reduce illicit trade as miners will promote the value of their mineral at the Africa Mineral Development Centre”, said Kazungu.
“Hosting AU – AMDC is in tandem with the government plan to grow Kenya into a regional hub for mineral promotion and value addition in Africa,” he added.
Speaking on the same, Mining Principal Secretary Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed, shared similar sentiments on Kenya’s potential to host the Centre, saying it was feasible considering that the country has scored about 98 per cent of the set criteria by the AU.
The African Union established the Centre, as a special agency to ensure that all members’ states obtain optimal value and benefits from mineral resources.
Similarly the Centre will also promote mutual transparency and accountability by both mining companies and the governments.
The AMDC once established and fully operationalized will provide value addition facilities to all miners, in an endeavour to enhance the value of their mineral and hence secure their space the competitive world markets.
The Centre also seeks to build capacity for the sector.