The Global Political Economy of Mining in Selected African States

Benkenstein, Alex (2009-03)

Thesis (MA (Political Science. International Studies)()--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


Many African countries present the observer with a paradox: though richly endowed with mineral wealth, these countries are among the least-developed in the world. Mineral resources have historically been an important source of revenue for the state and one finds great diversity in the strategies that states have employed to access this wealth. These strategies range from direct participation in mining activity by means of state-owned companies to more indirect methods such as taxes levied on mining activity, with approaches varying not only among states, but also over time as historically certain strategies with regard to state involvement in mining have come to predominate. This study develops a typology of public/private sector configurations in the mining sector. The typology consists of three models, a direct participation, market-led and sustainability model. This typology serves as an analytical tool to investigate the impact of mining codes on sustainable development. The study concludes that in many cases the investment-oriented mining code reform undertaken by African states in the 1980s and 1990s has had a negative impact through the social and environmental costs associated with mining. Increasing recognition of these costs has resulted in the emergence of a sustainability model.

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