Palladium Platinum Mine conveyor belt and silo at sunset. Image: Getty, Sunshine Seeds/iStock


Futures literacy in mining: Empowering the African Mining Vision

The 10-year review of the African Mining Vision (AMV) is an opportunity to showcase the need for futures literacy, foresight and anticipatory governance.

The COVID-19 pandemic accentuates the lack of anticipatory capabilities in African mining to enable early detection of emerging disruptors with significant impacts on mining futures. Institutionalising futures literacy at the African Mineral Development Centre (AMDC) and the broader extractive industry would build capabilities to embrace alternative futures of mining and to re-imagine positive visions of African mining. Empowering the AMV would enable the envisioning of alternative and contextually appropriate African futures of mining that facilitate anticipatory governance cultures within the mining sector. Adopting these policy suggestions would accelerate the pace of AMV domestication and enhance the ability of the AMDC to use the future and transform the AMV implementation trajectory.


In the post-normal times of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the African futures of mining finds itself in unchartered and deeply uncertain territory. There is no return to business as usual owing to the traumatic shock of worldwide lockdowns, with devasting effects on the global economy. The extractives industry should see this historic event as an opportunity for novel responses with uniquely African innovations. The guiding signpost to the future of African mining is the AMV, which aims to promote ‘transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socioeconomic development’.1

The AMV represents a collective re-imagination towards transforming African mining futures. The forward-looking vision seeks to empower policy and regulatory frameworks to maximise the developmental outcomes of mineral resources exploitation on the continent. Chief of the Natural Resources Section at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dr Kojo Busia, argues that ‘it is the lack of long-term vision and effective policies, which create weak institutions and laws, unfit for transforming the mining sector in Africa’.2

The statement highlights the deficit in the mining sector’s ability to imagine and develop proactive mining policies. What is lacking is futures thinking and foresight skills that would help to build strong institutions and effective governance frameworks. In fact, the first annual Africa Forum on Mining, hosted by the AU and other institutional partners in Accra, Ghana from 13–15 November 2019, stressed the need for futures-informed approaches that are adaptive and responsive to the AMV implementation action plan.

This policy briefing explores how the AMV and its associated action plan is empowered by the use of futures literacy, foresight and anticipatory governance. In this regard, the role of the AMDC, as the key institution tasked with coordinating and promoting the implementation of the AMV, is also considered.



Henning Suhr

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