Local communities deprived of their fair share of benefits, say participants
Ghana’s natural resources need to be better regulated to reduce environmental damage, a recent survey has found. Local communities are also deprived of their fair share of benefits of natural resource extraction.
Over 60 per cent of Ghanaians believe mining, oil drilling and wood harvesting negatively impact the environment, a survey released November 8, 2022, by research network Afrobarometer found.
The results were based on interviews by non-profit research and advocacy institute Ghana Center for Democratic Development on behalf of Afrobarometer. The research network provides data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance and quality of life.
The government needs to tighten regulation of natural resource extraction, over 85 per cent of the survey participants said.
The Ghanaians were evenly split in their views on whether locals get a fair share of benefits of natural resource extraction near their communities. Half the participants said local communities are also deprived of their fair share of benefits of natural resource extraction.
Natural resources such as gold and oil, among others, have helped transform Ghana’s economic growth, according to World Bank. But despite this, citizen’s participation in extraction governance is limited, showed the survey by Afrobarometer.
About 40 per cent of participants felt that the benefits natural resource extraction outweighed the negative impacts.
Read more: Money or trees? Ghana's dilemma
New research published in the journal Resources Policy, titled “Artisanal and small-scale mining formalization challenges in Ghana: explaining grassroots perspectives,” supported the Afrobarometer survey findings.
About 85 per cent of artisanal and small-scale mining operators or the poor communities engaged in artisanal gold mining have no say in decision making, according to the research.
These poor people are termed “galamseyers” and are considered a “menace” to society by the government and often excluded from the decision-making process.
Ghana is a signatory to the international protocol on Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples. The local people need to agree to any extraction in their jurisdiction, as per the protocol.
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