NCA-DCA urges Malawi to ensure inclusive resource governance to prevent conflicts in extractive industry

Norwegian Church Aid – Dan Church Aid (NCA/DCA) Malawi Country Joint Programme has warned that misunderstandings and conflicts would continue characterizing the extractive industry unless the Government of Malawi addresses governance systems that perpetrate social inequalities in the sector.

Banda-Matsimbe observed that the extractive industry is riddled with misunderstandings and conflicts communities surrounding the mining sites are not benefitting from the resources being exploited in their areas.

Banda-Matsimbe–Mineral resources must be used to build and increase social cohesion and not deepening inequality–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

She made the sentiments at the opening of a one-day alternative mining industry indaba in Karonga on Tuesday.

NCA-DCA Malawi Country Joint Programme organized the indaba in conjunction with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) to enable stakeholders to discuss and identify lasting solutions to social and economic issues facing the extractive industry.

The indaba was held under the theme: Communities in Karonga for a Just and Inclusive Mineral Resource Governance.

Banda-Matsimbe emphasized that equitable access to natural resources is key to increasing social cohesion; hence, she challenged the Government of Malawi and its partners to ensure transformative and progressive implementation of governance of natural resources to prevent conflicts over control and access to the resources.

She lamented that despite Malawi being one of the countries blessed with a variety of natural resources that include diverse mineral deposits, wildlife, farmlands, forests, and surface and groundwater systems, citizens have not benefitting from the exploited resources.

“This has created a wide gap between the haves and have-nots. Transnational corporations have extracted and exploited natural resources across the country, leaving only massive degradation and poisoned water resources for the local communities,” she narrated.

Banda-Matsimbe said it is high time Malawians started probing authorities on who is benefitting from the extractive.

She added that citizens must pursue an extractive industry that is beneficial to both the investors as well as the communities surrounding the mining sites.

“I would like to remind you of one key virtue and value for a true transformation of the country’s extractive industry – a holistic and integrated justice, which necessarily includes key trajectories in the form of human resource capacity building on the extractives in Malawi for sustainable livelihoods and prosperity; and equal distribution of extractive benefits among all,” she emphasized.

Fr Songa–I urge communities surrounding mining sites to voice out their concerns without fear–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

Karonga Diocese Secretary for the Bishop, Father Robert Songa, hailed NCA-DCA Malawi Country Joint Programme for organizing the meeting, stressing that it had given communities an opportunity to voice out their concerns directly to relevant authorities.

Government officials that attended the indaba included the Principal Secretary for Mining, Martin Phiri, Regional Mining Engineering Officer and Karonga District Council representatives.

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