Malawi’s natural resources include among others limestone, uranium, coal, bauxite, phosphates and rare earths. While mineral exploitation is still low Malawi has mineral potential and exploration has been on the increase as the government seeks an alternative source of income to tobacco. In January 2009 Malawi became a uranium producing country with the opening of the Kayelekera mine. Malawi is also geared to become a niobium producer from 2014 with the Kanyika mine in Mzimba.
Sources: The Nation, USGS, US State Gov
Citizens For Justice
The government of Malawi recently drafted a new mining policy. As Malawi draws up the policy and legal framework for mining there is a critical need for citizens to provide input into the process – to ensure that the resulting policy and legal instruments will be understood, accepted, and thus easy to implement and enforce in the future. It is with this background that it is felt that a multi-stakeholder debate on EITI must be initiated now rather than later.
The Malawian PWYP chapter has already initiated a debate at local levels on EITI and PWYP. Although the government’s response to this was disappointing, a task force team comprising NGOs, Government and donor institutions (including AfDB) was nevertheless established to come up with the first EITI national conference in Malawi. This conference was supposed to take place last October (2009), though it has been subject to continued delays and postponements by the government. PWYP Malawi managed to link the EITI secretariat in Norway with the Malawian Ministry of Finance, and accordingly the Government sent representatives to an EITI outreach and training event last year in Tanzania.
Faced with significant challenges – in particular financial ones – the PWYP members in Malawi are persevering in their efforts to review and analyze the various policies, strategies, and legislative and economic instruments which will determine the extent to which natural resource uses contribute to equitable resource distribution to overcome acute poverty in future. Capacity building will be vital to ensure the effective lobbying of MPs, to build the expertise and technical knowledge needed amongst CSOs, and to facilitate multi-stakeholder consultation.