Saturday, March 30, 2024

African Geo-Scientists Trained to Harness Continent's Mineral Wealth

 In a bid to bolster Africa's capacity to harness its mineral resources, twenty-five geo-scientists from eleven African nations underwent intensive training in geo-scientific survey techniques and mapping. 

The four-week program, held in Entebbe and Kabale, was spearheaded by the Uganda Geological Survey Department and facilitated by experts from the Czech Republic. This initiative, funded by Europe, aimed to empower African countries to generate their own knowledge and expertise in mineral exploration and exploitation.

Part of a broader four-year program, the training also aimed to facilitate knowledge exchange and networking among experts in the field, thereby enhancing their career prospects. Participants, competitively selected from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, and Egypt, represented a diverse pool of young and mid-career practitioners.

The closing ceremony of the training, held at Lake Victoria Hotel, was graced by outgoing Minister of State for Mineral Development, Peter Lokeris, who emphasized the importance of fostering innovation, collaboration, and research to drive Africa's growth and development.

Lokeris highlighted the role of geo-scientific skills in unlocking Africa's vast mineral potential, urging participants to leverage their newfound expertise for the continent's benefit.

Eng. Irene Batebe, the Permanent Secretary for Energy, underscored the timeliness of the training amid increased mineral and energy exploration activities in Africa. She emphasized the need to develop human capital capable of maximizing Africa's resource wealth, echoing a presidential directive to add value to minerals before export.

Batebe emphasized the importance of translating Africa's mineral potential into tangible projects that attract investment, urging trainees to apply their skills effectively. She also called for sustained networking and knowledge-sharing among practitioners, advocating for the establishment of a centralized African geo-science portal.

Dr. Fred Tugume, Acting Commissioner for Geological Surveys, lauded Uganda's selection as the training host, acknowledging the government's commitment to capacity-building in the region.

Dr. Veronica Sierra from the Czech Republic, a facilitator of the training, stressed the significance of equipping participants with the knowledge to leverage their countries' mineral wealth. She emphasized that unless Africa possesses the requisite expertise, its mineral resources remain untapped potential.

The training program signifies a pivotal step towards empowering African nations to harness their mineral wealth, positioning the continent for sustainable development and prosperity.

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