This panel examines Africa's natural resources and inequalities. How can Africa's natural resources be harnessed to promote inclusive socio-economic development. What institutions, are needed to ensure that natural resources are managed for pro-poor, inclusive development interventions in Africa?
The notion that natural resources can contribute positively to the socio-economic development and inclusion of natural resource wealth African countries makes a lot of sense, especially due to the huge revenue these countries can generate from the sector to alleviate poverty and inequalities. However; contrary to this assertion, empirical record shows that natural resources are more likely to lead to poverty exacerbation and inequalities than it is to poverty reduction and social inclusion. Consequently, Africa is often said to be a paradox of plenty or 'resource curse'. This simply means that Africa is rich in natural resources, but the poorest and most conflicted continent in the world. The continent has about "30% of the world's mineral reserves, including 90% of the world's platinum and 40% of its gold" (Southall 2009, cited in Carmody 2011:15). It is within this context that this panel invites papers that critically interrogates this problem, with the aim of coming out with scientific models that argues for a paradigm shift in the management of natural resources and use of its rents for social inclusion and human development in Africa. Are the mining companies in Africa (which are mainly international firms) making much profit to the detriment of local nationals? Could Africa be better off without mining? How can rents from Africa's natural resources be effectively managed to benefit the poor and vulnerable in Africa? We welcome papers from both African and non-African scholars on the diverse perspectives of the issue.