4 July 2017
When a country discovers that it has valuable mineral deposits under its soil, some would say it had won the lottery. Putting aside the question of how and why it was that the country began looking for the minerals in the first place, how does it then make a series of other decisions? Whether or not to exploit these minerals? How to exploit them? Who will exploit them? What to do about the people and environments that will be disturbed by this exploitation?
Other questions will also arise. What, if any, taxes and royalties will the miners and drillers be asked to pay back to the government? How will those taxes and royalties be spent? Who will benefit from them? Who will know how much miners and drillers are paying in taxes and royalties? Continue Reading →
3 July 2017
Professor Anthony Bebbington leads the ESID research programme on the politics of natural resources and inclusive development. He tells us here about his life and work, and why he challenges the notion of ‘development’.
What made you want to work in development research?
The fact that I couldn’t work in ‘development’ practice.
High school geography introduced me to poverty, famines and the Green Revolution (thank you Messrs James, Jones and Hadfield), and then university forced me to think theoretically about regional inequality, the historical dynamics of capitalist development (thank you Derek Gregory) and the detailed politics of the policy process (thank you Land Economy).
Much else happened at university too and by the end I had decided I wanted to work in ‘development’ and social change. Every organisation I wrote to, however, told me (quite rightly) that I had neither experience nor skills. So, I did a PhD in order to get extended ‘field’ experience and knowledge of development organisations, so that I could be better placed to work in development. Continue Reading →
Prof Sam Hickey’s presentation, delivered to OECD Govnet meeting on Governance and the SDGs – How politics matters for development and the implications for Sustainable Development Goal 16.
12 June 2017
Why are some mineral-dependent countries able to translate natural resource wealth into sustainable and inclusive development outcomes, while others often succumb to the resource curse or Dutch Disease?
Most analysts argue that the most crucial distinguishing factor for whether and where natural resources are governed in the national interest depends on the institutional and policy choices of governments. Inspired mainly by the new institutionalist thinking that underpinned the ‘good governance’ agenda within international development, these approaches suggest that Africa’s mineral-rich countries can avoid the resource curse by adopting ‘best-practice’ type institutions that have proven to have worked well in more democratic countries. This relates in particular to the adoption of regulatory institutions that facilitate the management of mineral rents in more transparent and accountable ways. Continue Reading →
8 June 2017
Known as ‘galamsey’, illegal small-scale mining has really captured the attention of the media and the public in Ghana recently. It’s an urgent issue. The practice is poisoning the water and Ghana may need to import water in as little as three years time unless it’s stopped.
We recently published an insightful blog on the issue, based on research by Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai. Here, ESID researcher and Senior Research Officer for the Centre for Democratic Development in Ghana, Kojo Asante, talks about what he would advise the new Minister for Natural Resources, and the urgent need to build a bigger coalition to deal with the problem.