Creating a knowledge driven mining sector that is a key component of a diversified, vibrant and globally competitive industrialising African economy

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With the exception of South Africa, the mineral sector in Africa generates little new knowledge in terms of mining-related products, processes technologies and services. Generally, indicators for the capacity for knowledge generation and innovation are availability of scientists and engineers, the quality of scientific research institutions, university-industry research collaboration, company spending on R&D, and government procurement of advanced technology products. These are all generally much lower in Africa than those found in other emerging economies. There are a number of reasons for this, and these include the weak funding, both from public and private sources, of technology institutions and research processes and the general weak partnerships between research institutes and mining companies. This in turn leads to weak science and technology capacity. R&D needs to be aligned to each country’s national development plan and this is a key pre-requisite for an industrialisation policy based on value addition to mineral products and the development of linkages and clusters in the sector.

The dearth of institutions engaged in R&D activities in Africa presents a critical technical challenge to the competitiveness of the African mineral sector. There is therefore need to deliberately encourage research and development, and innovation which benefit from sufficient independence and financial autonomy in order to use mining as a spring board for industrialisation.

NOTE: Some information on this page are from the African Mineral Vision thought starter document 2011.

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