6th Tana Forum focuses on Africa’s natural resources governance

The 6th Tana High Level Forum on Security in Africa, organized by the Institute of Peace and Security Studies of the Addis Ababa University, was held from April 22-23, 2017 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

High government officials including Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and high profile scholars graced the event.

Natural resource governance vis-à-vis water, land, forests and biodiversity in Africa were top agenda of the forum.

Participants debated to seek solution for deficit in quality of governance on the way these natural resources are being exploited, which is highly increasing street protests in some African countries and threatening peace and stability of the region.

In his opening remarks, former President of Nigeria and Chairperson of the Tana Forum Board, Olusegun Obasanjo noted that the existence and exploitation of natural resources is a key determinant of the wellbeing of resource-rich African countries. “The continent’s natural resource landscape attracts a wide range of national, multinational and state-backed foreign companies seeking to capitalize on the surge in demand and incentives offered by governments in many Africa countries,” said the chairperson.


“There appears to be a linkage between broader governance deficits and those specifically linked to the governance of natural resources in Africa. This partly explains why weakness in governance happens despite the centrality of natural resources to the economic and political life of many African states. It is in such countries, for instance, that the entire value-chain in natural resource exploitation is by far the most opaque and mostly mired in corruption,” he added.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, for his part, stated that Africa is blessed with natural resources, pointing out that unless we manage them properly they will be a source of conflict rather than contributing to our economic development.

“Africa needs to proactively work on natural resource management to sustain its economic development and secure stability of the continent,” added the Prime Minister.

The Forum also deliberated on pressing issues of leadership in Africa: Reflections on the Legacies of the Late Dr. Wangari Maathai, environmental activist and Nobel peace laureate.

The Forum is an annual event serving as a platform for African chief executives to exchange ideas on peace and security in the region.