PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday pushed for proper use of the African Minerals and Geoscience Centre (AMGC) to fight poverty in all member countries. Speaking at the 37th AMGC annual meeting in Dar es Salaam, the Premier said the centre was well equipped technologically, with modern laboratory and highly skilled geologists, among others, for the best services.
He argued that geological records showed that the African continent is the richest in mineral resources, with all AMGC members adequately endowed, but part of the resources remains either underutilised or on various stages of development.
“We are supposed to set friendly environment to attract investors on this area of mineral development, prepare skilled human resource and equipment to effectively supervise the sector and achieve the intended goals,” said Mr Majaliwa.
Well monitored mineral re sources will accelerate economic development in African countries. But, the current challenge is how AMGC member states can nurse the mineral sector, which properly contribute to the entire continent.
Mr Majaliwa noted that administration of the mineral sector to benefit majority people, especially those surrounding the mining areas remains a serious challenge. “Our people should be proud of the minerals instead of being left with mining-pits, poverty and agonies,” he warned.
He cited Tanzania, which has various minerals like gold, silver, copper and Tanzanite but the sector contributes a mere 4.8 per cent to the National economy. He insisted on members not only to set-up best AMGC utilisation techniques but also find the markets for the centre’s products, convincing more countries to join it and pay their annual fees, timely.
Upon learning that Tanzania was also on the fee-delaying list, the Premier directed the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to im mediately clear the debt and set precedence to other members. Angola and Sudan were commended as the best fee paying members.
Mr Majaliwa hinted that AMGC was struggling to acquire the ISO 17025 certification for global recognition, adding: “On our side as host country, I promise to continue helping the centre in various ways, including timely payment of annual fee.”
The Deputy Minister for Minerals, Dr Medard Kalemani, said 36 African countries showed willingness to join the centre. He added that despite the challenges that the centre faces, mostly delays in payment of annual fees, AMGC was transforming from the regional to continental facility.
Dr Kalemani said the centre envisages installing the minerals’ smelting and refinery plant whose operations are expected to take off next year. “This is to make our people benefit from their mineral resources,” charged the deputy minister.