II-2. Harnessing Indigenous Knowledge for Mineral Resources Development and Management in Africa for Wealth Creation and Employment Generation: Opportunities, Challenges and Policy Recommendations

Conveners: Olawale R. Olaopa (North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa); e-mail: olawale.olaopa@gmail.com, Victor Ojakorotu (North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa); e-mail: Victor.Ojakorotu@nwu.ac.za

The inadequacy and unsustainability of the business-as-usual pattern and paths of development exemplified by its inability to resolve some world’s development challenges as well as the dangers and pressures they pose to environmental resources and governance is apparent. While the global discourse and plethora of academic researches concentrated on the issue of resource-curse in resource-rich African countries, majorly the metallic and energy resources, little has been done on solid minerals that are most necessary for transformational development and are less sensitive to global market forces. Africa is endowed with a huge and vast array of solid mineral resources. Of the total world mineral resources, Africa mines 90% of the diamond marketed, 81% of cobalt, 62% of platinum, 70% of gold, 50% of magnesium and chromium, and 30% of copper in addition to its rich reserves of coal, oil and iron ore. In spite of these, Africa contributes only 2% of the total industrial output of the world’s market economies, the economies remain poor and underdeveloped with its accompanying high level of debts and unemployment rate. This confirms the fact that, possession of abundant natural resources does not determine the greatness or competitiveness of a nation but the availability of knowledge, talent and creativity that is adequately applied for adding value to the endowed resources for wealth creation and employment generation, and how fast it can learn new things. The author is motivated to bring into limelight and discuss the efficacy and propensity of indigenous knowledge (IK), an important component of global knowledge on development issues but an underutilized and undervalued resource in Africa, to catalyse sustainable development. This is with a view to correcting the various misconceived opinions about IK of Africa at international discussions and in modern literature regarding its role in resource development, management, wealth creation and employment generation. Against this background, this paper relies on qualitative and historical method of analysis as well as informal discussion with some Nigerian in order to examine the key opportunities and challenges in harnessing Indigenous Knowledge for solid mineral resources development and management for sustainable development. Thus, it is majorly a review of very essential literature flavoured with statistical information and citations from journals, published books, unpublished reports and other grey material. It concludes with the recommendation of policy strategies for harnessing IK practices and incorporating it into the African Union’s development blueprint - Agenda 2063 for effective solid mineral resources development and management in Africa.