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MADI - Prof. Calestous Juma Essay Competition

Minerals Africa Development Institution (MADI), in partnership with the Calestous Juma Legacy Foundation (CJLF), is proud to present the 2nd Edition of the MADI – Prof. Calestous Juma Essay Competition. Our aim is to bring together great young African minds to deliberate on dynamic solutions to the persisting challenges that plague Africa’s mineral resource sector, at the national, sub-regional, and continental level. We are inviting essays from all over Africa on relevant thematic areas affecting the mineral resource sector along the minerals value chains as we position ourselves for Africa’s social and economic structural transformation, inclusive growth, and sustainable development.

The central idea behind the MADI – Prof. Calestous Juma Essay Competition is the need to change the African narrative and mindset towards minerals development.


Africa has for long been stunted concerning socio-economic transformation and strategic growth, due to the application of timeworn and non-workable systems and illusive ideologies that are ill-fitted to our unique society. Spanning from the colonial period, Africa has inherited foreign systems and socio-economic ideologies that have hindered us from framing our own narrative and finding homegrown solutions to Africa’s problems.

MADI is dedicated to the development of homegrown African solutions to Africa’s challenges by facilitating ideation and innovation to boost Africa’s development. Like the proverbial new wine in old wineskins, we believe that Africa cannot achieve all-round structural transformation and sustainable development in this new age without a corresponding move away from these obsolete traditional perceptions.


As the world transitions to a green economy, it is imperative that the minerals sector, like all other industries, incorporates responsible and sustainable practices. The drive to shift from fossil fuel economies to “green” renewable economies also means that Africa’s mineral resources must shift from mere mining and commodity trade to creating value along the minerals value chains through value addition and beneficiation.

As industrialized economies search for critical minerals, Africa, which is still unindustrialized, must position herself to optimally benefit from these strategic and critical minerals. Rather than repeating past mistakes or maintaining the status quo of exporting raw commodities, Africa should rather focus on producing high-quality, value-added mineral products that can feed into the continent’s industrialization agenda.

Furthermore, despite the world’s shift towards green energy transition, over 600 million people in Africa still live in poverty, and 70-80% of the population are unemployed youth. The African Union and the United Nations have developed visions, such as Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals, respectively, to address this reality. To industrialize, Africa needs energy, and fortunately, the continent is endowed with both non-renewable energy minerals and resources, such as fossil fuels and coal (referred to as “stranded assets”), and renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind, as well as clean energy resources such as uranium, plutonium, and thorium.


In 2009, the Assembly of African Union heads of State and Government endorsed an Africa Mining Vision to guide Africa on how to shift the paradigm and rewrite its own narrative concerning mineral resource development. The vision urges African countries to ensure that minerals contribute to broad-based social and economic sustainable development. It also stresses that the sector should be knowledge-driven and feed into a single market of Africa (the African Continental Free Trade Area – AfCFTA) through upstream and downstream beneficiation linkages, while contributing to the development of side stream linkages. However, fourteen years later, Africa is still in the same state.

MADI strongly believes that Africa has two key assets: its natural resources (minerals) and its youthful population. Africa cannot transform herself economically and socially without the heavy involvement of youth in the minerals sector. That is why one of MADI’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is mobilizing one million youth leaders in the minerals sector by 2030.


The main objective of this essay competition is to change the mindset of the African youth, tomorrow’s leaders, to have full knowledge of Africa’s minerals endowments and how these can be applied to achieve Africa’s social and economic structural transformation and sustainable development.

Objectives Include;

  1. Understanding the global green transition agenda and what this means for Africa.

  2. Accelerated involvement of youth in the minerals sector broadly but with focus of green transition.

  3. To spearhead the attainment of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs through youth involvement in the minerals sector.

  4. To provide a platform for professional human development and interconnectivity for the youth in the minerals sector across the continent and beyond.

Submissions Guidelines and Eligibility

Applicants must be 18-30 years of age with legitimate citizenship in an African nation.
Previous winners and anyone affiliated with MADI or CJLF, in any role, are not eligible.


  • Language: English (UK)

  • Length of Essay: Between 800-1000

  • Attachments: Brief bio with contact information in a separate document from the essay

  • Abstract: Not required

  • Format for essay submission: Word Document (read-only)

  • Submit to:

  • Submit By: 15 OCTOBER, 2023 (11:59pm EAT / 8:59pm GMT)

All submissions will be assessed by a highly qualified panel of judges selected from our
robust network of industry professionals from all over the world. Essays will be assessed
against set criteria to select the 3 top winners and will be conducted on a blind basis.


Innovation and Africa’s mineral resource sector: “Facilitating Science and Green Technological Advancement in the Minerals Sector for Sustainable Development”

Essay Questions (Choose one)

  1. Navigating the Issue of Africa’s ‘Stranded Assets’ such as Energy Minerals like Coal: The developed world is pushing Africa not to exploit these minerals in order to reduce carbon emissions, what is your opinion on this?

  2. The Green Transition A Necessary Pathway to a Sustainable Future for Africa: Discuss the main drivers and challenges in the transition to a green economy.

  3. Exploring the Role of Technology in the Green Transition: How can cutting edge innovations such as smart villages, industrial parks, renewable energy and electric vehicles fast-track the move to a sustainable future?

  4. The Importance of Youth in the Green Transition: Explore the significance of the Youth engagement in achieving a successful transition to a greener economy


1st Place Gold

$ 750

2nd Place Silver

$ 350

3rd Place Bronze

$ 175

Winners will also receive books authored by Calestous Juma.

The top 10 essays will also be featured on our websites and in our joint blog as well as possibly other publications (newsletter, MINERALS ARE BORDERLESS magazine, journals etc.)

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