Mosebenzi Zwane File picture: Independent Media

JOHANNESBURG - South African Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane, on Monday said that the limited knowledge of geosciences in Africa was thwarting appropriate steps to enable maximisation of development needed to transform the social and economic fabric of the continent.

Zwane said that the role played by geological surveys to ensure enhanced development and availability of relevant geological survey information was key towards the fulfillment of the aspirations of Agenda 2063 and the Africa Mining Vision.

Zwane said geology was a path-finder to attain the ideals of a developmental state as it empowers decision makers to negotiate better legal contracts that localise the value in-country.

"The prognosis of generic under-development in Africa correlates with paucity of geoscience knowledge compared to developed regions. It is common knowledge that notwithstanding the vastness of mineral resources in the Continent, it however remains grossly under-mapped with limited knowledge of its true potential," Zwane said.

"I submit that this paucity explains the slow pace of socioeconomic development within the continent and further qualifies why the continent continues to suffer from gross exploitation by major multi-national companies operating in the continent through such schemes as the base erosion and profit shifting, sometimes referred to as transfer (mis)pricing in populist literature."

Zwane was speaking at the 10th AGM of the Organisation of African Geological Surveys (OAGS) in Gaborone, Botswana. He said it was crucial that the OAGS grows in statue and strength to be able to support its members to fully fulfill their mandates.

South Africa was voted as permanent Secretariat of the OAGS and will register the organisation as a juristic person in the country, but has to wait Cabinet approval to formalise the position.

Zwane said the ideas that created the OAGS necessitates that African institutions begin to shift from high levels of international dependence that dictates their pace and form of development and drive towards complete independence in order to inform and direct the development trajectory of the continent.