My post-doctoral research project with the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) is on ‘ Hybrid governance in mining concessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Ghana’.
Demand for mineral resources is growing, while reserves are drying up. This evolution has pushed transnational mining companies (TNCs) towards extraction in formerly inaccessible locations, including post-conflict areas. Quite often in such settings, the TNCs concerned also perform governance functions, such as providing security, social services and public infrastructure. In so doing, they conform to the requirements of ‘corporate social responsibility’, which is often translated as ‘doing good for the community’. But in addition to delivering benefits through hospitals, schools and roads, TNCs can also damage the environment and restrict people’s access to land and resources. Moreover they may induce unintended harm through channels that remain largely unobserved. The arrival of a TNC tends to affect not just the local economy, but also local politics, creating winners and losers in both arenas. The proposed research takes a novel approach in studying such political changes, drawing on the literature on hybrid governance and analyzing power and authority ‘from below’. Cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana are used in a comparative study with a view to gaining insight into local conflicts in their institutional and historical contexts. This is crucial for a more general understanding and management of company-community conflicts, as communities are never homogeneous and conflicts are as much about authority and legitimacy as they are about resources and land.
February and March 2015- Fieldwork in Ghana
During my first exploratory fieldwork in Ghana I spent some time in Accra and in Western Region, an important gold-producing region. I collaborated with the University of Mines and Technology (UMAT). This research was sponsored by FWO and BOF- University of Antwerp.
September 2015- Fieldwork in DRCongo
In September I did fieldwork in Namoya. This research was sponsored by FWO and VLIR. More information will follow soon.
November 2015- Field report Ghana
On the basis of the field research in February and March I prepared a field report, which you can find below. Enjoy the read and do not hesitate to send me any comments or suggestions you may have.
March 2016- Working paper Ghana
This report was published in the form of an IOB Working Paper. ECDPM recently also published a discussion paper on Multi-stakeholder partnerships in the gold sector in Ghana, based on the same case study company.
December 2016- Presentation and poster Bukavu conference
I presented a paper and a poster at the Bukavu conference “Transition and local development in Eastern DRCongo” on 8-10 December:
Forthcoming… Field report DRCongo