Mineral resources play a significant role in many economies and the turn of the 21st century has seen a number of countries reviewing their mineral resources frameworks through various means. These reviews and amendments have been termed ?resource nationalism? which can be defined as a range of measures taken by governments to assert more control over their natural resources, maximize economic benefit and improve regulation of strategic resources. Whilst resource nationalism is a topical issue in both developed and developing countries, it is undoubtedly an area which is at the core of redefining how Africa deals with and retains the value of its natural resources and how it re-positions itself for sustainable economic growth.
Natural resources are finite and resource rich countries are increasingly absorbing political, social and budget pressures which require the reorganization of resources and their management. Resource nationalism is at the top of regional agendas in Africa and even SADC and ECOWAS have made commitments towards common mineral resource policy measures. The most notable of discussions and progress in creating structured, harmonized common policy measures is found within the ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) and UEMOA ?Union Economique et Monetaire Ouest Africaine? (West African Monetary and Economic Union) blocs who are in the process of negotiating and discussing a common mineral code within its bloc.
Given the potential multiplier effect of the industry to industrialization, the mineral rights framework is closely regulated by central governments and followed intently by the international community. Following from the same, diamonds have played a significant role in Zimbabwe?s economy since the commercialization of the Marange diamond fields in its Manicaland Province from 2009 to date. However in 2016, controversy emerged in respect of transparency of revenues from the sector with the President proclaiming that the state has been prejudiced of USD15billion by companies operating in the country through theft, non remittance of taxes and under declaration of revenues. This has led to an overhaul of the rights allocation approach in Zimbabwe. The events in Zimbabwe?s diamond sector brings to the fore the importance of the allocation system of rights vis a vis the regulation and oversight of extractive industries. The allocation of rights sets the framework for the management and administration of extractive projects and ultimately determines whether the exploitation of the resources can achieve sustainable gain and development. In order to evaluate the veracity of a rights allocation system, there is need examine how the regulation of extractive industries has developed internationally through the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources and also against best practice tenets that have been identified over time. Key to these principles is the elements of accountability, transparency and predictability, all which should form part of the administrative framework of rights allocation. This study seeks to evaluate the measures Zimbabwe has taken in its attempts to improve productivity and efficient harnessing of return from the diamond sector.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2017.