Africa’s strong economic growth, infrastructure boom, and rapid urbanisation are driving the demand for construction materials, dimension stones, industrial minerals and semi-precious stones. Despite their catorgorisation as low value minerals and materials (LVMM), these natural resources have the potential to boost development through employment creation at the local level for millions people, and to stimulate intra-Africa trade. Conservative estimates indicate that more than 8 million people in Africa are engaged in this sector, with women making up more than 40 percent of the work force. With greater attention, policy support and regulatory oversight, LVMM could play a key role in driving the continent’s inclusive growth agenda.

In this context, the African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Group of States, the European Union (EU), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have initiated the Development Minerals Programme, a three-year, Euros 13.1 million capacity building programme to support the LVMM sector in 40 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. More than 25 of the participating countries will be in Africa. The programme aims to support the capacity development of key stakeholders in the sector such as regulatory agencies and local governments; private stakeholders including small-scale mining enterprises, construction companies, mining and quarrying associations; as well as training centres, universities, civil society organizations and community groups.

The Development Minerals Programme is aligned with the aspirations of the African Mining Vision (AMV), adopted by African Heads of State in 2009, that seeks to ensure natural resources are used in a sustainable way and for the benefit of all.