Mining Negotiation Skills Training Roundtable in Cameroon

The Government of Cameroon and IM4DC hosted a Mining Negotiation Skills Training Roundtable in Yaounde, Cameroon in July 2013. The roundtable was convened to start development of a negotiation handbook and training manual to strengthen the capacity of African governments to negotiate extractive industry contracts.

The roundtable came about from a scoping mission that took place in December 2012 by Associate Professor Jill Howieson from The University of Western Australia and Ms Leanne Howie from The University of Sydney.

The scoping mission investigated the issues and options that should be addressed in the design and implementation of an extractive industries negotiation program in Africa. 

Fabien Nkot, Professor of Political Science, University of Yaounde II (Cameroon) and Senior Advisor at the Prime Minister’s Office in Cameroon offered to host the first roundtable, on behalf of the Prime Minister of Cameroon.

Attending the roundtable were government, university and institutional representatives from a range of organisations. Representatives from Western Australia, Hong Kong, Cameroon, Liberia, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and New York participated. 

The roundtable agreed that the African continent is enormously rich in mineral products but that the inexperience with which countries go to the negotiation table with mining companies often disfavours the countries and their community. 

Discussions also revealed that although there were already many courses, frameworks and manuals already existing in the area of mining negotiations, many of these focused on single event contract negotiations from a legal perspective, rather than taking on a multi-disciplinary to holistic approach to negotiation that would necessarily involve all stages of the mining project and all the major stakeholders.

They also seemed to omit the all-important negotiation preparation phase and were focused on the practice of negotiation rather than on negotiation skills. In addition, it was noted that mediation and conflict negotiation coaching could be a useful addition to enhance negotiations before, after and during mining projects.

The roundtable resulted in agreement to:

  • Develop and design a Negotiation Handbook which would include a roadmap of the mining negotiation process and what is required to negotiate well at each stage
  • Produce a Negotiation Training Manual which would include a negotiation training curriculum and courseware
  • Establish the African Resources Negotiation Network.

The completed Negotiation Handbook will be presented to the Government of Cameroon and other stakeholders in a workshop to be held in Yaounde in January 2014. Negotiation Skills Training Workshops will also be held from January 2014. 

IM4DC thanks the Government of Cameroon and AusAID for their support of this project.