After several decades of economic decline, mining's growing importance in many African economies has been welcomed, but the rate of sectoral transformation from rural agrarian to more urbanised mining economies, has not afforded sufficient time for policymakers to fully appreciate the nature of the developmental processes underway.
This study focuses on the economic, social and cultural change associated with rapid and/or erratic rates of urban growth propelled by mining expansion in three contrasting countries:
- Angola (diamonds)
- Ghana (gold)
- Tanzania (gold/diamonds)
As a prelude to field studies, an international conference will be held to overview the impact of mining on urbanisation in Africa's major emergent mining economies.
Phase 2 encompasses key informant interviews, focus group discussions and surveys in small and large-scale mining settlements to probe miners' migration, earnings, work and living conditions.
Phase 3 involves interviews with national policymakers about their perceptions of mining's influence on urbanization and poverty.
Phase 4 concentrates on dissemination of research findings. A 'Digging Deeper' participatory programme involving youth groups expressing their perceptions of life in mining settlements in various art forms explores the local population's consciousness of their cultural and social identity transformation.
The overall aim is to disseminate knowledge of actual as opposed to rumoured outcomes of mining livelihoods to facilitate the formulation of policies tailored to current realities.