Action Aid has called on authorities in African governments to adopt dialogue activism on mineral benefits to influence investors to give back more to the communities.
Country director for Action Aid Zambia, Pamela Chisanga, made the suggestion on Tuesday after presenting her overall assessment on activism and mineral exploitation in Africa to 25 journalists from Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) countries undergoing a two-week intensive Journalism Summer School training in Lusaka, Zambia organised by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa).
She said dependency on activists approach in lobbying for change has not produced results in most sectors because it lacks dialogue.
Chisanga noted that dialogue activism has the potential to compel mining investors to understand and appreciate why African countries feel exploited by mineral investors and also understand the community needs.
“There is a thin line that differentiates an activist or advocate and activism. We need activism because it involves dialogue on a long-term plan and this influences change.
“The benefits of dialogue activism are that there is no conflict at the end and it creates room for the two sides to listen to each other and come up with a resolution.
“This is what we need, especially in countries where mining is taking place. Let us have a dialogue approach that influences the investors to give back more to the community than it is now,” she said.
Chisanga, however, acknowledged that some countries have done better in practising dialogue activism to influence investors to give more to the communities, but said there is need for an extra gear because huge amounts of minerals are being exploited and exported in exchange for unsustainable services.
She hailed countries where mining deals have been made transparent.
Malawi is among countries where mining deals still remain an issue between investors and government.
Activists who have lobbied for better investments from Paladin (Africa) Limited, a company which was mining uranium at Kayelekera Mine in Karonga have not achieved better results from the approach as reports indicate that communities have not benefited much.
Chisanga, however, advised activists, including civil society organisations in countries that are exploring new mineral sites to stand up and develop a dialogue activism plan alongside their governments to be implemented at the onset of the mining deals.
The approach, she said, produces results in the long-run and early implementation will help host countries to benefit from the mineral resources.
—Sharra is reporting from Lusaka, Zambia