Welcome to CENFACS’ Online Diary!
13 May 2020
Post No. 143
The Week’s Contents
• Message of Support to the CENFACS Community during the Coronavirus Pandemic Time
• FACS Issue No. 67: Extractive Mining Activities, Ecology, Sanitation and Poverty Reduction in Africa in the Era of the Coronavirus Pandemic
• All in Development Stories Telling Serial 2: Life-caring Stories (Week Beginning 11/05/2020)
… and much more!
~ Message of Support to CENFACS Community during the Coronavirus Pandemic Time
We would like to reiterate our support to everybody making the CENFACS’ Community – our Community of Value Chains – and others related to our community during this challenging time of the Covid-19.
Like everybody, we too at CENFACS are closely following and applying anti-coronavirus restrictions, measures and guidance. In this respect, we are seriously taking the UK Government’s message of STAY ALERT, CONTROL THE VIRUS and SAVE LIVES.
As we informed you in our communication of 18 March 2020 about the arrangements we have made during the Covid-19 crisis, we are not running any events involving physical contacts at the moment.
To keep CENFACS essentially running, we are only e-working; which means that anyone who needs to access our service, they can do it remotely or online by contacting us via e-mail, phone and contact form.
As the above axis line of CENFACS’ response to the coronavirus pandemic shows, we have virtually produced a number of resources to contribute to the on-going effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic and help each other. These resources include: virtual protective facial masks, gloves, anti-bacterial hand gels, toilet rolls, etc.
We had as well to introduce to some of our activities and projects measures to protect everybody; measures such as physical and social distancing rules into our Triple Value Initiatives (or All Year Round Projects).
To stay on track and at the frontline in this battle against Covid-19, our Covid-19 campaign has not stopped to find new tools and munitions. As a result, we have developed six cubes of protection to protect people and our community against the life-threatening and destroying impacts of Covid-19.
The coronavirus has pushed the frontiers of our knowledge, our resolve for action and the way we deliver services to the community. We had to expand our digital and online services by finding new and innovative ways of keeping you engaged while making these new means available to you. It has been a learning curve for us. In this learning journey, we did not leave you behind as we invited you to participate to our first Virtual Reflection Day.
We have expanded our advice service to consider additional provision to cope with the side effects from Covid-19 impacts on people, especially for those who lost their earning capacity or status in our community.
To closely monitor the behaviour of Covid-19, we set up a model of rebuilding lives which is technically based on shadowing the epidemiological curves of the pandemic. In doing so, it provides us with the necessary data to build the picture and appropriately respond to the patterns of Covid-19 behaviour and threats.
To adapt and mitigate the impacts of Covid-19, we are currently conducting an impact analysis of Covid-19 on CENFACS’ 2020s Tools Box, Development Agenda and Poverty Reduction Programme; impact analysis which you are all invited to take part.
We will carry on adapting our Covid-19 campaign depending on updates about the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic and on the progress about easing of lockdown measures.
We shall continue to support and engage with you during the coronavirus pandemic crisis.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for patience and commitment to the CENFACS’ Community, our Community of Value Chains.
For any query or enquiry about this message, please contact CENFACS.
~ FACS Issue No. 67: Extractive Mining Activities, Ecology, Sanitation and Poverty Reduction in Africa in the Era of the Coronavirus Pandemic
How Africa-based Sister Organisations can bring extractive activities in line with poverty reduction and ecological sustainability
The 67th Issue of FACS, CENFACS’ bilingual newsletter, is now out. In this Issue, we have considered the Covid-19 impact, particularly the need to take into account efforts that Africa-based Sister Organisations need to deploy in order to step up their response to the pandemic while keeping extractive activities in line with poverty reduction and ecological sustainability.
In our previous web post no. 136 of 25 March 2020, we provided readers with a short introduction and the key notes making the content pages of the Issue no. 67 of FACS. In this post, we have summarised the page contents of this Issue. These summaries are under the Main Development section of this post.
~ Week Beginning 11/05/2020: All in Development Stories Telling Serial 2: Life-caring Stories
In the context of Covid-19, there are many situations in which one can take care of others. These varied situations can include: professional healthcare, care home, applying the UK Government and NHS guidance on Covid-19, volunteering to keep the economy working, looking after poor and vulnerable people during the Covid-19 crisis, etc.
=> Professional health carer
One can be working as a professional health carer. As such he/she is taking care of patients.
=> Social carer
One can be working as a key worker in a care home for the elderly people.
=> Applying Covid-19 restrictions and measures
One can as well take or look after others by applying to letter the anti-coronavirus measures and guidance to control the virus, save lives and protect the healthcare system (the NHS).
=> Essential volunteering
One can essentially volunteer to keep the economy working for everybody during the coronavirus pandemic
=> Looking after poor and vulnerable people
One can take care of poor and vulnerable during this health and economic crisis in order to protect them from total economic and social collapse as human beings.
As the above shows, there are many ways in which one can care for and protect lives during the coronavirus pandemic and after it. We have just mentioned a few of them. When any of these caring situations happen, there is always a story with them; a story that can be told and shared.
This week, we are taking these kinds of caring stories to make up our All-in-Development Story telling Series.
Those who have Life-caring stories, they can donate their stories to CENFACS. To do that they can refer to CENFACS’ Story Telling Terms as published on this site last week.
For those who still have Life-saving Stories and were not able to share them with CENFACS and others, they can as well give their stories whenever they are ready. They need to do it before the deadline of story submission, which is 31/05/2020.
To donate your story, just contact CENFACS.
~ Africa-based Sister Organisations and Evidence-based Covid-19 Stories
This week, we are expanding the scope of our AiDS Telling Programme to consider the stories or experiences that our Africa-based Sister Organisations (ASOs) are having with local people regarding the Covid-19 impacts.
We had reports of local people struggling to access life-sustaining basic needs (such as food, water, sanitation and financial support) in order to fight the economic threats and social disruptions from Covid-19; let alone the threat it poses to lives in Africa.
As we are in CENFACS’ Stories Month, we would like to include their tales or experiences of poverty induced by the coronavirus pandemic.
For any of ASOs that wish to submit or donate their Covid-19 related story, please contact CENFACS.
~ The impact Analysis of Covid-19 on CENFACS 2020 (s) Poverty Reduction Tools, Development Agenda and Programme
In the implementation of CENFACS’ 2020 (s) Poverty Reduction Tools Box, Development Agenda and Programme; we cannot ignore the Covid-19 shock. When these tools, agenda and programme were designed; we did not anticipate the global impact of Covid-19. Now that we are in the situation and era of Covid-19 dominance, it is normal for us to reassess these tools, agenda and programme to make them adaptable to the new world of the coronavirus pandemic.
As said above, we have already started this adaptation process by protecting the CENFACS Community and others, by following the anti-coronavirus measures and guidance, by cancelling any physical events or activities, and by producing our own virtual protective tools (such as facial masks, anti-bacterial hand gels, gloves, toilet rolls, etc.).
We also adjusted our advice service to take into account the changing needs of the CENFACS Community and the side effects of Covid-19 on poor and vulnerable people.
What’s more, we designed six cubes of protection against the coronavirus pandemic.
We have lastly introduced some elements of protection (such as physical and social distancing rules and protective equipment, etc.) into our All Year Round Projects (or Triple Value Initiatives).
All the above taken steps are meant to adapt ourselves as an organisation and mitigate the negative outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic.
In this adaptation and mitigation processes, we are now embarking on the next phase which is of the analysis of the Covid-19 and its impact on CENFACS 2020 (s) Poverty Reduction Tools, Development Agenda and Programme. After completion of this phase, we hope to upgrade our work on Covid-19 campaign from the initial response we gave to it.
During this impact analysis, we may run a number of consultations or discussions with stakeholders (including beneficiaries) so that any changes we may initiate reflect the needs of our beneficiaries. This process of consultations has started with Covid-19 ASOs Survey.
To enquire or support CENFACS’ Impact Analysis of Covid-19, please contact CENFACS.
~ Covid-19 and the Prospects of Double Contraction of Income for Africa’s Charitable Organisations
The prospects for a deep global recession are now looming. So do, the prospects for income contraction for Africa’s organisations working on charitable and voluntary issues. By income contraction, we mean a decline in incomes as measured by overseas aid (from non-governmental organisations, grant-making trusts, individual donors and public administrations) or domestic funding (either from statutory bodies, companies and individuals) or even charity store sales.
Africa’s charities will face the prospects of an increased demand of services and support from those in most need and most vulnerable. However, under the constraint of the Covid-19 impacts, it will not be easier for these Africa’s charitable and voluntary organisations to respond to this exponential demand. There are reasons that work against these organisations to meet this huge demand. One of the reasons is the double contraction of income: contraction from overseas line of support and contraction from domestic financial support.
Income contraction from overseas line of support
Many of overseas development charities and non-governmental organisations on which Africa’s charities and voluntary organisations get financial support have been seriously hit by the Covid-19 impacts. Their incomes have been seriously reduced and some of them have been forced to close some of their services and stores to comply with the lockdown measures. This is the same for various companies and individuals who fund these not-for-profit organisations. Also, there are some opinions in the wealthy nations that demand to offset foreign aid budget to their own Covid-19 budget. This situation will have a knock-on effect on the income of Africa’s charities and voluntary organisations.
Income contraction from domestic financial support
It is not clearly known where there has been financial bailout in Africa whether or not this public money has reached the charitable and voluntary sectors in Africa. Also, most of the coronavirus-related bilateral and multilateral financial backing tends to be in the form of loans. There are very limited concessional loans and grants that Africa’s charities and voluntary organisations can tap into.
Africa’s charities and voluntary organisations need to reinvent themselves in order to have the financial foot they need to meet their own expenses while keeping their essential and valuable services alive. The months and year to come will be determinant in deciding the finances of Africa’s charities and voluntary organisations while hoping the true picture of Covid-19 will by then be revealed.
As far as CENFACS is concerned, we shall continue to work with our Africa-based Sister Organisations so that we can together further up their case for funding and fundraising for the valuable services they provide and maintain their place in the fight against Covid-19 and poverty in Africa. The thoughts on Covid-19 continue…
• FACS Issue No. 67: Extractive Mining Activities, Ecology, Sanitation and Poverty Reduction in Africa in the Era of the Coronavirus Pandemic
How Africa-based Sister Organisations can bring extractive activities in line with poverty reduction and ecological sustainability
The 67th Issue of FACS deals with 12 areas of advocacy that Africa-based Sister Organisations can use to make a poverty-relieving case about mining activities undertaken in Africa so that poor people and the nature are properly treated. These areas include: foreign direct investment, natural resources, poverty reduction, ecological management, informal economy, poverty-relieving value added, political economy of negotiation, mining code, advocacy, health insecurity, sanitary poverty, and coronavirus pandemic.
Please find below the key summaries making the body of the 67th Issue of FACS.
• • Page Summaries
What leverage can Africa-based Sister Organisations (ASOs) have to bring extractive activities into line?
Generally speaking, extractive activities which are owned and run by multinational corporations have a massive influence and marge of manoeuvre in the way they want to run their extractive activities. However, with the growing trend of democracies, freedoms and civil society voices in Africa; it is possible for ASOs to gain some spaces to increase their influence and bargaining power to lobby, advocate and campaign to achieve more and better outcomes in terms of poverty reduction and ecological sustainability.
For example, ASOs can continue to press for the issue of the mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to renegotiate, revoke or cancel the disadvantageous mining contracts that the DRC signed during the two waves of war and transition in the 2010s. This is because these contracts were unfair and signed under warfare pressure.
The situation of unfair contract terms can also happen with the Covid-19 crisis; situation in which African countries are searching for finances to cover the breathtakingly high costs of the current health and economic crisis. They could be forced to sign unfair trade or mining contracts to secure the finances they badly and desperately need.
In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, ASOs can use the limited levers or powers they have to make a strong case for the contribution of these activities to the reduction of sanitation poverty and the improvement of health conditions linked to negative externality generated by those activities.
Are informal and artisanal small-scale miners trying to help themselves in ending their poverty?
According to the International Labour Organisation (1),
“Informal employment is the main source of employment in Africa, accounting for 85.8 per cent of all employment, or 71.9 per cent, excluding agriculture” (p.29)
Informal and artisanal small-scale miners are also part of this percentage in the informal employment. In the economic context where there is no much or any support for poor and small people, these people are often forced to find ways of making a living. Informality and temporality could be for them a way of earning some income to survive and live.
Informal and artisanal miners (like the ones who dig or search for diamond, gold and other minerals), who are vulnerable from informal economy, could be just trying to reduce the level of poverty they are in. However, this could raise the debate over illegal or illicit mining activities. With Covid-19, they could be even more vulnerable if there is no financial support or bailout for them.
(1) International Labour Organisation (2018), Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture (3rd Edition), Geneva
Africa-based Sister Organisations as advocates against health insecurity and sanitary poverty in the mining fields
The coronavirus pandemic does not only expose the fragility of African economies; it does as well reopen the debate over the working conditions in the mining fields in terms of health, safety, sanitation and security.
ASOs can use this window of opportunities that Covid-19 has provided to continue to make a case or proposals for a better protection and working conditions for African miners. These proposals could cover areas of protection against Covid-19 (such as personal protective equipment and protection of miners’ families).
They can as well further up their advocacy work on health insecurity and sanitary poverty to be eliminated. They can ask for compensation for affected mining communities, defend environmental degradation, apply to become part of the drafting of any mining codes or contracts, campaign for better mining contracts under the constraint of Covid-19, etc. ASOs should continue to put pressure to ensure that mining contracts and mining codes address ecological, sanitation and poverty reduction issues.
Foreign direct investment in the natural resources and poverty reduction in Africa
Opinions amongst ASOs are divided regarding the impacts of foreign direct investments (FDI) on natural resources and poverty. There are those ASOs that see FDI as being a positive thing for local employment creation and valorisation of natural resources. On the contrary, there are other ASOs that think that ASOs bring little compared to what they take while neglecting poverty issues. The views of the two sides of the argument depend on what really FDI can produce regardless of any affiliation of theoretical doctrine or ideology.
Equating foreign direct Investment in the natural resources with poverty reduction investment
It is possible to make equal foreign direct investment (that is, overseas investment by private multinational corporations) in the natural resources and investment in poverty reduction in Africa. It all depends on what is perceived as the goal of FDI in natural resources and what is the aim of poverty reduction.
If the goal of FDI is limited to the maximisation of profit, then there is no equivalence between the two. If the FDI in natural resources takes poverty reduction as part of its overall goal in places where these investments are implemented, then there is a possibility to speak of equivalence or equality of goals between poverty reduction and other areas of investments.
Comment les organisations associatives africaines peuvent-elles assurer que la plus grande valeur ajoutée minière générée soit retenue localement pour la réduction de la pauvreté?
Pour répondre à cette question, définissons d’abord la valeur ajoutée. Pour le faire, nous avons emprunté la définition du site comptafacile.com (2), définition qui est celle-ci:
“La valeur ajoutée est un indicateur financier qui exprime la création de richesse brute d’une entreprise ou l’accroissement de valeur qu’elle a générée du fait de ses activités courantes. Elle représente donc une traduction de l’activité de l’entreprise: difference entre le chiffre d’affaires et les consommations intermédiaires.
La valeur ajoutée sert à rémunérer les acteurs de l’entreprise, c’est-à-dire ceux qui participant à son fonctionnement: les salariés (rémunérations), les apporteurs de capitaux (dividendes) et les administrations (impôts, taxes et cotisations sociales). Le reliquat contribuera à enrichir l’entreprise elle-même.”
Cette définition nous montre clairement que la valeur ajoutée a peu à avoir avec la pauvreté. Elle vise à enrichir les acteurs de l’entreprise.
Néanmoins, il est possible de repenser cette définition et sa pratique pour que la valeur ajoutée tient compte de la pauvreté. En particulier, on peut oeuvrer pour que la part de la valeur ajoutée allant aux travailleurs locaux pauvres soit au-delà du seuil de pauvreté.
De même que les entreprises d’extraction minière peuvent ouvrir leur capital pour que les pauvres aient un pourcentage non moins négligeable dans leur capital, si vraiement elles sont intéressées à la réduction de la pauvreté.
Les organisations associatives africaines peuvent plaider pour une augmentation significative de la part salariale des salaires les plus bas et pour l’attribution d’un pourcentage juste du capital aux pauvres.
C’est en procédant à ce changement que l’on peut faire en sorte que la valeur ajoutée ainsi générée soit grandement retenue pour les objectifs de réduction de la pauvreté. C’est ce partage équitable des fruits de l’extraction minière qui fera réduire sinon éliminer la pauvreté et assurera la justice financière.
Page 5 & 6
Comment les organisations associatives africaines peuvent-elles faire pour que l’économie politique de négociations avec des investisseurs miniers étrangers soit favorable à la réduction de la pauvreté locale?
Pour qu’elles en arrivent là, il y a d‘énormes travaux à faire. Elles doivent comprendre que l’économie politique est la science des lois qui régissent les relations économiques en matière de production et de répartition. L’économiste Jean-Baptiste Say définissait l’économie politique comme “l’exposition de la manière dont se forment, se distribuent et se consomment les richesses”. C’est aussi la recherche des moyens d’enrichir une nation comme le disait Adam Smith.
En comprenant le rôle de la négociation dans l’économie politique, les organisations associatives africaines peuvent utiliser leurs pouvoirs de négociation, quels que soit limités, pour faire en sorte que le problème de réduction de la pauvreté soit au coeur de négociations minières, mais pas à la périphérie. Si elles ne le font pas, l’enrichissement des activités minières peut se réaliser par une grande pauvreté locale.
Dans chaque négociation, il y a ce qui est à gagner et ce qui est à perdre; de même il y a des compromis à faire entre les parties en négociation. Ceci peut faire que la négociation soit un jeu à somme nulle. Ce qui n’est pas admissible est que dans des négociations minières la réduction de la pauvreté ne soit pas une enchère importante.
Les organisations associatives africaines peuvent travailler pour qu’elles gagnent une place dans les négociations minières et qu’elles utilisent leur participation dans ces négociations pour soulever les enjeux de réduction de la pauvreté. Elles peuvent aussi mettre sur pied les modalités et critères clairement définis de suivi et d’évaluation de ces négociations concernant leurs impactes sur la réduction de la pauvreté.
C’est en agissant de cette manière que les organisations associatives africaines pourraient faire que l’économie politique de négociations avec des investisseurs miniers étrangers soit favorable à la reduction de la pauvreté locale ou nationale.
Comment les organisations associatives africaines peuvent-elles plaider pour que le code minier soit aussi celui de réduction de la pauvreté en Afrique à l’ère de la pandémie du coronavirus?
Pour y arriver, définissons d’abord ce qu’on entend par code minier. Nous avons emprunté la définition liée au code minier français, définition que nous allons extrapoler et appliquer dans nos analyses. Elle est la suivante:
“Le code minier français régit l’ensemble des usages du sous-sol (hors aménagement). Il précise les conditions dans lesquelles une exploration et une exploitation de mine peuvent être réalisées mais aussi les dispositions relatives à l’arrêt des travaux miniers (« après-mine »)…
Ce code est pour l’essentiel un code de procédure: il précise davantage les processus de décision que les décisions elles-mêmes. Néanmoins, les relations entre exploitants, propriétaires et voisins de la surface minière sont encadrées par ce code tout comme les dispositions sociales “. (3)
On peut faire que ce code de procédure régisse aussi bien les dispositions en matière de réduction de la pauvreté qu’à celle du développement durable. De même, on peut adhérer la participation des représentants des couches pauvres et des organisations associatives africaines dans ce code de procédure et de processus de décisions minières et de leur élaboration.
Aussi, avec ce qui se passe actuellement avec la crise sanitaire amenée par le Covid-19, on peut y inclure des dispositions sanitaires, écologiques et environnementales. Ces considérations dans le code minier permettront de sauver et protèger des vies humaines et naturelles contre les menaces et risques du Covid-19.
Les organisations associatives africaines peuvent faire que le code minier ne soit pas seulement un dispositf techniquement minier, mais aussi un processus d’engagement holistique sur des questions de pauvreté, d’environnement, d’écologie et de santé publique. Elles peuvent demander l’adaptation du code minier au droit à l’environnement, à l’écologie et à la santé liée au coronavirus.
Les organisations associatives africaines peuvent ainsi plaider pour que le code minier soit aussi celui d’éradication de la pauvreté, de réduction de la dégradation de l’environnement, de l’amélioration écologique, et du progrès de l’hygiène en Afrique à l’ère de la pandémie du coronavirus.
Do minerals raise finances or increase poverty in Africa?
The experience with mining activities in Africa shows that minerals can be a viable source of earning incomes when the prices are rewarding. This earning can help public finances and people. It is even helpful when poor people are allowed to get a share of return from the sale of minerals. They can get it through direct transfer payments or indirectly through public spending in education, housing, health, social protection, transport, etc.
Minerals can increase poverty if their exploitation is done in such a way to denying ordinary people access to a decent pay, healthcare, environmental protection and any other material possession. This is why ASOs need to continue to advocate for the reduction or even eradication of the deficiencies of mineral markets and companies if they create or exacerbate poverty. They can keep advocating for the support of local poverty reduction projects and transparency (and accountability) for incomes from mining activities to reach poor people or its destination (end-users).
Natural resource management, ecological management and poverty reduction in Africa in relation to mining activities
Normally, natural resource management (NRM) is the management of natural resources in a sustainable way in order to meet objectives (such as wildlife conservation, ecosystems, etc.) and to reduce the negative environmental impacts and change.
As to the ecological management, it is the management of interrelationships between organisms and their environment.
Regarding poverty reduction, it is any measure or effort that helps improve monetary and material conditions of those who do not have or have very little.
By putting together the three of them, it is possible to find some links or balances between the way in which natural resource and ecology are managed. Also, the manner in which natural resource and ecology are handled can impact the direction of poverty reduction. In other words, poverty can increase or decrease depending how humans manage natural resource and the balance between organism and their environment.
Because of these interlinks, mining activities need to find the fine balance between human health, ecological disruptions and poverty reduction.
For example: with regard to poverty reduction, poor people in Africa may not have means to buy soap and access safe water to wash their hands. Yet, hand-washing is an important element in the process of eradicating the Covid-19.
So, mining activities need to be respectful of human-ecological balance as well as the balance between extraction of natural resource and human wellbeing.
Relationships between mining companies and Africa-based Sister Organisations in the context of Covid-19
Historically speaking, mining companies have more relationships with States and other economic agents than African-based Sister Organisations (ASOs). However, since Africa has returned to democratic path, one can noticed that ASOs tend to highlight from their advocacy work different issues which were neglected or were in the domain of overseas development non-governmental organisations. These issues can include human rights, child labour, environmental pollution, poverty, etc. surrounding the quality of mining activities.
From time to time, ASOs do raise their voices regarding the impacts of mining activities. Currently, ASOs can re-examine the relationships between miners and mining companies under the constraint of Covid-19 to protect poor miners so that miners are treated safely and healthily at work, review of working mining conditions in relation to Covid-19.
Covid-19 ASOs Survey: a Survey for Africa-based Sister Organisations regarding the Impacts of Covid-19 Shock
It is known that the Covid-19 Shock is impacting everybody and sector. In order to be more specific in the way is affecting Africa-based Sister Organisations (ASOs), we are conducting a survey regarding the economic health of these organisations.
The survey is about finding how Covid-19 is impacting each ASO, particularly but not exclusively, those ASOs working on mining, ecological and sanitation issues. The survey has the following three objectives:
(1) Finding out how (strongly or averagely or weakly) Covid-19 is impacting individual ASO and their users
(2) Development of ways of mitigating issues found and brought by Covid-19
(3) Start gathering data for the preparation of the post-Covid-19 recovery strategies
As part of this survey, we are questioning ASOs to openly tell us, by using their own words and figures, the way in which the Covid-19 is affecting them.
They can directly answer to CENFACS by using our contact details on this website.
To get involved and or full access to the survey, please contact CENFACS.
Project of Advocates against Sanitary Poverty and Unsustainable Ecology
The overall aim of this project is to help reduce sanitation poverty and adverse effects on the structure and function of the nature; poverty and effects that may have been caused by mining activities. This help will be achieved by working together with local people and organisations where mining activities are taking (or took) place in Africa and where there have been negative impacts from these activities on sanitation, ecology and poverty.
To support and for further details (including full project proposals, budget and implementation time schedule), please contact CENFACS.
For a full copy of this Issue or query about it, please contact CENFACS.
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With many thanks.