An senior African Union security official on Sunday said that natural resources can be both a blessing and a curse that it is linked to most African conflicts.
AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra told journalists at the sideline of the 10th Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) conference held in Harare that natural resources centered conflicts involve "especially actors from outside the continent."
"When you look thoroughly at each one of the conflicts that the continent has gone through you will find that natural resources are always at the heart part of it whether acknowledged publicly or its part of the hidden agenda," Lamamra said.
Thus, he said, there was need for Africa to come up with strategies to stem natural resources centered conflicts and allow the resources become truly a blessing for the local residents.
CISSA was formed in 2004 in response to recommendations by African heads of state and government and is an arm of the African Union mandated with providing the continent with security information. The theme for this year's one-week conference, held until May 8, is "The Nexus Between Africa's Natural Resources, Development and Security."
Zimbabwean state media have said President Robert Mugabe, AU chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma are expected to attend the conference whose resolutions will be presented to heads of state at the African Union summit.