The problem with Western activists trying to do good in Africa

Ben Radley, Erasmus University Rotterdam In recent years Western advocacy groups have achieved unprecedented success in mobilising Europeans and North Americans behind a “conflict minerals” campaign to help end the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They have also attracted strong criticism, both internationally and in the DRC, for the perceived negative …

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How Ghana could turn waste plastic into profits

By Jon Spaull     “I wish one day Ghana will process its own mineral resources,” says Etornam Bani Fiadou, PhD student and assistant lecturer at the University of Mines and Technology (UMAT) in Ghana. Ghana is the second largest producer of gold in Africa and a major producer of manganese and the main aluminium …

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Ghana’s gold diggers: Land and rivers laid to waste

By Jon Spaull     Large swathes of Ghana’s gold belt have been laid to waste in the search for the precious metal by illegal small-scale miners. Cocoa plantations have been cut down and rivers polluted with heavy metals, including mercury, used to extract gold. In this, the second of a four-part film series on …

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Ghana’s gold diggers: Scramble comes at high cost

By Jon Spaull       People have mined for gold in what is now Ghana for thousands of years. The precious metal has always been easy to find, hence the name the British gave the country when they colonised it: the Gold Coast. In this four-part film series, we investigate the role of illegal, …

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Why dependence on natural resources is bad for the DRC

Yvan Yenda Ilunga, Rutgers University Many African countries have in recent years shown phenomenal economic growth. But recent developments on global markets – including the drop in prices of commodities such as oil, copper, and cobalt – have raised questions about the sustainability of Africa’s economic growth. The instability of global market has lowered investors’ …

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