ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- There is urgent need to effectively manage Africa's diverse natural resources, according to a new report published by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The fifth edition of the African Governance Report (AGR-V), which was produced by the ECA and launched late Tuesday, examined the various efforts made to improve the governance of Africa's abundant natural resources, as well as the need towards an improved governance in the continent.
The report also emphasized that "if well managed and sustainably exploited, natural resources have the potential to drastically improve domestic revenue mobilization and promotion of economic diversification across Africa."
The report, however, indicated that Africa has been slow to convert its natural resources endowments to tangible development outcomes.
"There is urgent need to sustainably manage Africa's diverse natural resources, including land and water for agriculture, forests, minerals, oil and gas," ECA's Macroeconomic Policy Division Director Adam Elhiraika said during the report launching.
"The direct exploitation of natural resources has dominated economic activity, with benefits not being channeled down to everyone, and this has to change," Elhiraika said.
The ECA Director further stressed that "good natural resource governance required good institutions both formal and informal."
"Africa has been slow due to weaknesses in governance and the wider capacities of the African state. Hence, a capable state with legitimacy and political will is needed to minimize harm from exploiting resources and to maximize positive development outcomes," he added.
Many African countries are applying concurrent governance frameworks backed by donor countries and international institutions, adding a layer of externally oriented accountability that does not always support mutual reinforcement of domestic institutions and regimes, according to the ECA.
Ownership right to natural resources is also said to be among the challenges of good resource governance in the African continent.
The ECA indicated that in many African countries ownership rights are vested in the state.
"This ownership arrangement is a means of control by the political elite and with widespread opacity in the management of resources," Elhiraika said.
The AGR-V, entitled "Natural Resource Governance and Domestic Revenue Mobilization for Structural Transformation," builds on the themes and recommendations of previous African Governance Reports which place good economic governance at the centre of Africa's structural transformation, according to the ECA.
Case studies from eight African countries - Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Madagascar, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda - support the diversity in natural resource governance.
According to the ECA, some countries in the continent are very dependent on extractive resources while others have relatively diversified sources of revenues.
"Some states have weak institutional capacities while others exerted improvements in terms of renewed state legitimacy and state capability," according to the ECA.