Editorial by Thembelani Moyo
2 Minute read
Zimbabwe can solve its many problems it is facing at the moment through sound mineral resource governance. Indeed, transparent natural resource management by a country solves the problem of poverty, environmental damage and corporate social responsibility.
Mineral wealth and people
Botswana has shown that well managed mineral wealth can transform small economies into formidable ones. Little known and poor at its independence, in 1966, Botswana is now an example of prosperity. Its GDP and GDP per capita has been on steady growth. Botswana’s good governance of its diamonds is credited for the growth of the economy. Citizens lives have been improved, as a result.
Zimbabwe has a few lessons to learn from Botswana. To uplift the lives of her people, who are still poor. The country needs good resource governance if it is to uplift the standard of living for her people. The majority of Zimbabweans are unemployed and live below the bread line. As such, a resource curse looms in Zimbabwe: where the poor are perpetually poor, while the elite gain more wealth.
The National Resource Governance Institute says there are steps that need to be taken to achieve good resource governance. For example, stronger institutions and policies as well as a reduction in corruption are essential to avert poverty among citizens. Without those, however, countries are less likely to achieve good resource governance and prevent poverty among people.
Good resource governance and the preservation of the environment in extraction sites have a relationship. Mining activities by Hwange Colliery, in Hwange, have affected residents in many ways. This is according to a 2017 Environmental Impact Assessment report published by the Center for National Resource Governance (CNGR).
The Hwange community is affected by severe air, land and water pollution due to coal mining, says the report. Also, wildlife is affected by the noise from blasting and operation of plant machinery. Such reports would not be heard of if proper resource governance is in place.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Marange residents, in 2010, were moved to a government farm to pave way diamond mining operations without any bargaining. The resettlement of the Marange people, however, could have been handled better if companies were involved in CSR. There was no legislation and systems to cushion the affected villagers. Villagers, indeed, were denied an opportunity to negotiate for compensation for their demolished homesteads. The document, ‘A Tale of Two Countries: A Comparison of Botswana and Zimbabwe Diamond Industries,’ contains the full details on the eviction of Marange villagers.
Zimbabwe has to prioritize good natural governance in 2020. The country’s economy will improve if transparent measures are put in place to govern natural mineral resources. Accountability must be at the forefront of the mining industry to ensure its growth and sustainability.