A wealth of resources
21 October 2008
Five senior government officials from the mining sector in Africa are taking part in a unique Australia Africa Fellowship (AAF) Program designed to address issues surrounding the management and distribution of extractive industry revenues in Southern and Eastern Africa.
The University of Sydney has been selected by AusAID to deliver the three-month executive training program which will offer the senior Fellows from Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia a chance to develop innovative ways to build a public sector capacity for increased fiscal and accounting transparency.
Leanne Howie, Executive Officer at the Graduate School of Government, looks forward to the outcomes. "The exciting thing about this particular group is the variety that they bring to the program. Coming from different African countries, they are at varying stages of developing related policies and agreements with mining companies. Each country not only has different interests but the resources are also diverse and include uranium, gold, gemstones, petroleum, copper, cobalt trona (Soda Ash), fluospar, gypsum and kyanite."
The program, which will also include issues of dwindling energy resources and energy security at a time when sustainability and climate change are at the forefront of the global agenda, promises to explore practical solutions. Ms Howie explains, "the delegates will find new ways to distribute the funds including opportunties to ensure that they are kept for future generations. So it's really quite a significant project."
Jointly delivered by the Faculty of Law and the Graduate School of Government and managed by the International Institute, the program offers a combination of formal coursework, including classes in Issues Management, Royalty and Taxation Resource Regimes, Public Policy and Production Sharing, with opportunities to undertake site visits with state government departments and mining companies. In addition, the Fellows will travel to Perth to visit an Australian mine operation, the Department of Industry and Resources and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA. Also incorporated will be guest seminars with key government and mining figures, including a visit by Chris Renwick, former CEO of Rio Tinto Iron Ore. The Fellows will also conduct their own research projects under the supervision of Professor Lee Burns, of the Faculty of Law. Professor Burns has more than 15 years' experience in the design and drafting of tax laws for developing countries in Africa and around the world, under the technical assistance program of the International Monetary Fund. The research project topics that will be covered include a comparison of policies between Malawi and Australia; developing a transparent formula for calculating tax; benefit sharing; tax incentives and import duties; the mineral sector's contribution to GDP and small scale mining.
Professor and Director of the Graduate School of Government, the Hon. Dr Geoff Gallop, is delighted at the relationship being developed between Africa and the GSG. "I have delivered a short course on strategic government to public servants in South Africa and Mozambique and we have enrolled students from South Africa, Zambia and Rwanda to our graduate public management program. The executive course we have developed for the Mining Commissioners will update them on public sector initiatives in Australia and allow them to undertake a detailed study of our mining industry and its regulation. It is this sort of hands-on and practical work that we are making our specialty."
Senior Fellow, Charles Kaphwiyo, from the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Malawi, said that he was eager to explore Australian mining policies because of Australia's impressive history of mining. "I'm sure that once I complete the research it's going to put Malawi on the world map as a mining country," he said.
The Australian Africa Fellowships (AAF) are an Australian Government initiative funded by AusAID.
Contact: Mandy Sacher
Phone: 02 911 40622