Perspectives #03/2010: The Challenges of Change - Improving Resource Governance in Africa

When diamonds were discovered in the remote Chiadzwa area of the Marange district, Zimbabwe in 2006, many in the local community considered this as a blessing that would lessen their hardships in tough economic times. Indeed, if prudently managed the Chiadzwa diamonds could significantly boost state revenue. However, instead of funding the country’s reconstruction after years of economic collapse, the diamond rush made the people of Chiadzwa one of the latest victims of the so called “resource curse”. The discovery plunged the area into chaos and brought with it armed security forces, violence, human rights abuses, increased social instability and environmental degradation.

Against the background of similar experiences in resource-rich countries across Africa, various multi-stakeholder initiatives were established in the early 2000s. Although different in their approach and scope, all initiatives aimed at contributing to a transparent, sustainable, fair, and just governance of natural resources. Almost one decade later, the situation in Zimbabwe gives rise to the question of how successful these initiatives have been in practice and what the main challenges in implementing them are.

This issue of Perspectives sheds light on these and related questions in the context of three different case studies: Zimbabwe and the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), the Nigerian Extractive Industries Initiative (NEITI), and the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Coalition in Tanzania. The articles in this issue of Perspectives demonstrate that while present local and international efforts to address the resource governance issues have yielded some benefits, they continue to face serious challenges. We therefore hope that this issue will provide a platform for further deliberations on solutions to overcome the problems associated with natural resource extraction in Africa.

Product details
Date of Publication
October 2010
Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Office South Africa
Number of Pages