Economic & Industrial

Impact Catalyst launched in Northern Cape to accelerate socioeconomic prosperity

Impact Catalyst launched in Northern Cape to accelerate socioeconomic prosperity
Mining News Pro - The socioeconomic challenges facing South Africa, but also specifically the Northern Cape, require concerted effort from society and the private and public sectors to create mechanisms that drive large-scale socioeconomic development initiatives.

It is for this reason that the Impact Catalyst in the Northern Cape, launched virtually on June 30, saw organisations from across the private and public sectors join hands to catalyse socioeconomic impact in both the province and across South Africa.

The Impact Catalyst, originally founded in Limpopo in 2019, is an initiative founded by Anglo American, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Exxaro Resources, World Vision South Africa, the Industrial Development Cooperation and Zutari, to create mechanisms that drive development initiatives through public-private partnerships.

The launch of the Impact Catalyst in the Northern Cape welcomed Kumba Iron Ore, Assmang, Deloitte, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Kudumane Manganese Resources, Minerals Council South Africa and South32 to the initiative for the Northern Cape province.

Further, it was found that, despite significant financial investment by mining companies in Northern Cape communities, these organisations’ efforts were often not meeting the real needs of communities or were not as efficient and effective as they could have been owing to various companies working in isolation, but ultimately aiming for the same goalpost.

The Impact Catalyst in the province follows the establishment of the Northern Cape Shared Value Project, which was initiated in 2017 under the auspices of the Minerals Council, Assmang, Kudumane, Kumba and South32, and undertaken by Deloitte.

These organisations recognised that new ways of working are needed if real, sustainable socioeconomic transformation is to be achieved.

The aim of the launch was also to present continuous commitment towards creating vibrant sustainable economies through socioeconomic development initiatives. The focus area of these initiatives will be expanded to include health, education and early childhood development projects.

“To achieve the scale, speed and impact necessary, we need an integrated approach that leverages key role-players and drives meaningful change and measurable socioeconomic development,” said Kumba CEO Themba Mkhwanazi.

“Collaborative regional development sits at the heart of [Anglo American’s] Sustainable Mining Plan, which sets out a pathway for us to build thriving communities by working collaboratively with community representatives, faith-based groups, businesses and entrepreneurs, government, academics and nongovernmental organisations to deliver on our promise.

“Through collaborative efforts and the buy-in of our host communities, we hope to play a part in shaping the future of the Northern Cape and its people,” he added.

Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter said the Impact Catalyst would provide various socioeconomic actors with a transparent, efficient and effective platform to collaborate throughout the Northern Cape.

He added that the Impact Catalyst’s vision and purpose was “fully aligned to the Northern Cape Shared Value Initiative”.

African Rainbow Minerals Ferrous CEO André Joubert, meanwhile, commented that the “beauty” of the Impact Catalyst is its collaborative approach, which will assist miners to collaborate with other miners, communities, traditional leaders, municipalities and the provincial and national government to ensure that all work together towards one plan and one objective: to uplift the economic viability of the communities in which they work.

Further, with the official provincial unemployment rate of the Northern Cape having stood at 28.7% at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, the launch event emphasised the crucial need for a collective partnership “to bring socioeconomic prosperity to the region”.

Impact Catalyst acting CEO Charl Harding noted that the Northern Cape region had significant potential, and that this would enable a thriving mining sector, with the sector’s contribution expected to contribute towards sustainable job creation and economic opportunities which “can be catalysed [and] sustained long after mining has ceased”.

Taking this into account, Harding noted that “a collective approach is required to truly achieve an impact”, adding that programmes and projects implemented in the private sector “will not make an impact if not strategically aligned with governmental strategy and resources”.

All initiatives implemented by Impact Catalyst and its partners in the Northern Cape are designed specifically to create an impact on the socioeconomic growth and development of the province.

By leveraging collaboration among partner organisations and across a variety of sectors, projects and initiatives are selected for impact scalability and replicability to achieve results beyond the reach of individual organisations.

Several feasibility studies and pilot programmes are under way in the Northern Cape, as part of Impact Catalyst’s efforts to stimulate economic development in the region.

However, in the interim, to address some of the socioeconomic difficulties in the Northern Cape, the Impact Catalyst in the Northern Cape, which aims to serve as an advancement of institutionalizing collaboration to reach a collective impact, will prioritise a number of programmes, such as schools and community information and communications technology (ICT), health and economic development.

The Impact Catalyst will also focus on programmes geared to address agricultural sector development, tourism sector development, municipal capacity development and infrastructure support, as well as early childhood development.

The Impact Catalyst is committed to continuously expanding its impact by rolling out cross-sectoral initiatives nationwide through collaboration. Harding is hopeful these will lead to an Impact Catalyst for other provinces

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