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Good Governance, Security and Mining in Africa

Puce noire 6 septembre 2006 , Bonnie Campbell

Using as a point of departure the observations contained in the document ‘Our Common Interest. Report of the Commission for Africa (March 2005)’, Chapter 5 :

“Countries with economies dependent on one or a few primary commodities, particularly high‐value resources such as oil and other minerals, are often poor, have weak and less accountable governance systems, and are more vulnerable to violent conflict and economic shocks”, the article sets out to explore the broader trends and specific conditions which might help explain why mining activities in Africa may well be at present and increasingly in the future, linked to issues of security.

To this end the paper explores various hypotheses which have been put forward such as the following :

1• an overly externally driven reform process may well have contributed to undermining the legitimacy of the governments of mineral rich countries concerned.

2• economic reforms, and mining policies more specifically, have perhaps not sufficiently contributed to building effective and accountable states that represent and respond to the needs of their population, which is essential to improving the peaceful management of conflict.

3• insufficient capacity to monitor and implement regulations may lead to the potential by‐ passing of governments as key regulatory agents and consequently further undermining their legitimacy.

4• in situations of conflict, in order to ensure security, mining companies may turn to private security companies or co‐opt armed groups to protect installations, thus contributing to further insecurity.

In an attempt to understand what is driving present trends, by broadening the perspective adopted and including an analysis of the reform process of which mining policies are a part, the paper echoes the conclusions of the Commission to the effect that ‘Responsibility for resolving conflict in Africa should lie primarily with Africans, but there is much more the developed world can do to strengthen conflict prevention’ and to that end, the articles seeks to identify specific measures of policy reform which might substantiate this observation.

Campbell, Bonnie. 2006. « Good Governance, Security and Mining in Africa ». Minerals and Energy (Raw Materials Report), vol. 21, no 1, p. 31-44.


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