Natural resources focus of AU's Peace and Security Council meeting
Speakers emphasized the value of natural resources and the role they play in Africa's economy, pointing out that bad management and less-than-equal distribution of those resources could mean financial troubles and conflicts on many levels.
AU officials said a major concern was that terrorist groups that are targeting parts of the continent might somehow gain access to natural resources and use them as a means of funding terrorism.
Council members spoke on the need for strong, transparent management of natural resources, pointing out that the full benefit of those resources would be realized only with equal distribution; further, the council said zero tolerance policies were necessary to fight corruption in the natural resources sector.
Programs, such as the Kimberley Process and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, have been in place for some time to enforce this mission.
Officials said leaders in AU's member states should focus on the development of laws and regulations related to natural resources to keep benefits coming into their countries and avoid exploitation, reminding them that international partners could help with transparency and equity issues as well as with ideas for best practices with regard to natural resources.