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Minister tasks Africa on Mineral Reserves & Reversing Debt Burden

By Patience Chat Moses
In a compelling address at a ministerial roundtable on Powering Africa in Washington DC, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Oladele Alake, has called upon mineral-rich African nations to reconsider their financial strategies. Emphasizing the pitfalls of mounting debts, Alake urged governments to leverage their proven mineral reserves as equity in joint ventures instead of succumbing to the pressures of loans.
Alake’s sentiments were conveyed in a press statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori. The Minister, also serving as Chairman of the African Minerals Strategy Group, cautioned against the predatory practices of loan marketers targeting African governments, despite global apprehensions surrounding debt sustainability.
“In the mining sector, in-situ equity, where the verified value of un-extracted minerals can serve as equity in joint ventures, presents a more sustainable financial approach than the path to chronic indebtedness,” remarked Alake.
Drawing from his experience as a journalist, Alake underscored the need for discernment in accepting loans, advocating for projects with returns capable of liquidating the debt. He urged African governments to exercise prudence and diligence to safeguard national sovereignty.
Alake further engaged in discussions with the United States International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), highlighting Nigeria’s commitment to revitalizing the mining sector under the vision of the Tinubu administration. He emphasized ongoing reforms aimed at attracting investments and diversifying the economy from oil dependency.
The Minister outlined critical steps to bolster the mining sector, including exploration, establishment of enhanced security measures and fostering collaboration with stakeholders. He highlighted Nigeria’s vast potential in critical minerals and underscored efforts to sanitize the sector to attract investors.
In a separate engagement to mark International Women’s Day, Alake reaffirmed Africa’s dedication to empowering women in the mining sector. Speaking at the International Women’s Day Forum 2024 organized by the Women Miners’ Association (WMA), Alake stressed the importance of equipping women with requisite skills for leadership and participation in the mining value chain.
The African Minerals Strategy Group, under Alake’s leadership, pledged support for women’s advancement through technical training, financial assistance, and leadership opportunities. The Minister’s commitment reflects a broader vision of inclusive growth and progressive transformation in the mining industry.