Natural Resource Development in Eritrea Conducted in London UK

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A discussion around the table on Natural Resource Development in Eritrea  organized by the Embassy of the State of Eritrea was held in the city of London  with industry experts, representatives of financial institutions, and potential  investors. Also taking part in the discussions members of the diplomatic  community from South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, German, Italy, Bolivia,  and Venezuela along with press from different organizations. Eritrean  professionals from various fields also attended the event.  The aim of the event was to create an effective platform for communication and  information sharing.

The event brought together a number of high profile  investors with specific interests in Eritrea. These include representatives from  Mining firms already operating in Eritrea as well as potential investors who have  expressed a keen interest in exploring the lucrative opportunities that lay forth. Introducing the participants to the program Miss Yohana Paulos PA to the  Ambassador provided participants with digital information package, which  provides a holistic picture on achievements, challenges, and the current situation. Opening remarks was given by Mr Yared Tesfay Director of Media affairs  representing H.E. Estefanos Habtemariam Ambassador of the state of Eritrea in  the UK and Ireland.  He welcomed guest speakers thereby updating participants  on opportunities and Embassy’s efforts on future engagements with potential  investors.

The discussion was chaired by Ms. Ruby Sandhu a Business Ethics & Human  Rights Lawyer. Ms. Ruby who has in the past travelled to Eritrea on a number of  mandates and missions also gave her version of accounts that depict the real  situation on the ground as she discussed her experience and findings. Ms. Ruby  also touched on the peace and stability inside the country and the attractive  environment for Businesses. She further noted on the expropriation efforts by  the Eritrean government from the mining revenue, briefly touching upon how  Media reporting on Eritrea is sensationalized.

After her opening remarks Ms. Ruby invited Dr Tim Williams for his presentation  on his experiences in Eritrea. Dr Tim who is the CEO of Andiamo exploration,  which has been operating in Eritrea since the early 90s. He gave an insightful  presentation on his experience on the ground in Eritrea Mining & Natural  Resources in Eritrea followed by another presentation by Todd Romaine who is  the Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility with Nevsun Resources  Limited. Dr Tim’s presentation focused in giving an overview in to the mining industry  and background on Eritrea’s nascent mining industry together with the good  mining law. He stressed on the strong part of the Eritrean government into  honoring to the contract and good working environment emphasizing on zero  corruption. He further went on to admire the reliable machineries and operators  in the country with which you can trust whilst doing the job on the ground.   ​

Mr Todd followed Dr Tim’s presentation also supporting on zero corruption and  went on to address BMSC’s (Bisha Mining Share Holders Company) operations in  Eritrea and the relationship with the Government of Eritrea. He also gave  participants on how Nevsun’s experience particularly focusing on corporate  social responsibilities and Human Rights in Eritrea to which he attributed the  main challenge as poverty. Mr Todd also discussed business operations in Eritrea and the recent HRIA  (Human Rights Impact Assessment) and the company’s vision to generate shared prosperity through its business operations. The objective means much more than just generating economic benefit. It also means protecting the safety and health  of employees, mitigating environmental impacts from its activities, respecting the human rights of its workers and the residents of the communities in which it  operates, and contributing to the sustainable development of those communities. Following the presentations interesting questions and comments flowed back  and forth amongst the participants creating an atmosphere that was favorable to  the Embassy of Eritrea to take note on the strong and weak points of Eritrea’s  engagement in the natural resources sector. Moderated by Ms. Ruby the feedback  was shaped in a manner on taking a learning curve on experiences gained in  other countries.

Giving his closing remarks and acknowledgements in conclusion Mr Yared Tesfay  noted on the aim to actively identify and build relationships with potential  investors as well nurture and solidify the relationship with existing partners. In  effect the Embassy will act as a bridge between the relevant institutions in  Eritrea and investors so as to ensure a smoother facilitation of the Investment life cycle. Mr Yared Tesfay finally pointed out this will be achieved by ensuring  greater communication and information sharing between all the stakeholders.