سلب مالکیت ، بهره برداری یا اشتغال ؟ معیشت جوانان و سرمایه گذاری صنعت معدن در سیرالئون
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|20469||2013||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||5332 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Futures, Available online 30 September 2013
The impacts that increased transnational extractive industry investments are having on local populations in natural resource-rich regions of sub-Saharan Africa are diverse, far-reaching and complex. A surge of recent investment has been variously met by resistance and rejection, by acquiescence combined with demands for better labour conditions, and outright acceptance in anticipation of gainful employment. Drawing on recent field-based research carried out in diamondiferous Kono District in Sierra Leone, this paper critically explores these contrasting responses to mining activities, by focusing on how youth perceive and respond to extractive industry expansion. The analysis is particularly salient in the case of Sierra Leone, as Kono's prime alluvial diamond areas are becoming ‘mined out’, and artisanal and small-scale operations are being replaced by more capital intensive modes of mechanized extraction. In an environment where the demand for unskilled labour is diminishing, and young people are facing pressing livelihood needs in an employment-constrained economy, youth are playing important roles in rights-based mobilizations around mining. The paper aims to broaden understanding of youth perceptions of mining investment, and illuminate the various factors underlying a diverse range of responses to the expansion of extractive industries. It concludes by reflecting on how youth perceptions of extractive industry expansion may also be influencing the ways in which mining companies understand and fashion their business and social responsibility strategies.
Since the 1990s, soaring global commodity prices and heightened demands for natural resources from the world's emerging economies have led to significant growth in extractive industry investment across sub-Saharan Africa . However, as many natural resource-rich African countries have become increasingly reliant on the export of mineral resources, paradoxically, the very localities where mining takes place are often among the poorest and most economically depressed. In such communities, evidence suggests that youth – understood here as a social category defined by a combination of age, social status and relative livelihood dependence – are in particularly disadvantaged positions. Indeed, even in areas of abundant natural resource wealth, young people often lack access to land, credit, employment opportunities, and other assets. While youth may have pressing livelihood needs, a surge of investment in mining and hydrocarbon projects across Africa has triggered a variety of responses amongst young people – ranging from outright rejection, to protest over labour conditions, to acceptance in anticipation of gainful employment. Whether youth perceive resource extraction as a process of exploitation or opportunity largely depends on how this encounter is constructed by a range of social actors, and which constructions come to dominate how different actors experience and make sense of extraction. Focusing on the case of Sierra Leone, this paper critically explores contrasting youth perceptions of, and responses to, extractive industry expansion. In Sierra Leone, youth challenges are critical given that 79 per cent of the population is under the age of 35 years, and 75 per cent of those under 30 are unemployed . Moreover, concerns for youth livelihoods and youth empowerment are particularly salient, given that the country's civil war of the 1990s is often linked to an underlying ‘crisis of youth’ which, it is argued, prompted large numbers of socially marginalized young people to embrace conflict in a desperate search for empowerment  and . In the post-war period, youth issues have increasingly commanded international donor and NGO attention, returning to centre stage on policy agendas and featuring prominently in the community development strategies that many extractive companies are currently pursuing. In this context, the objectives of this paper are twofold: first, drawing upon the concepts of ‘accumulation by exploitation’ and ‘accumulation by dispossession’ (after ), it seeks to illustrate how changing global-economic patterns and processes associated with extractive industry investment in Africa are opening up ‘new fields for capital accumulation’ [6: 153], while simultaneously radically reshaping livelihood opportunities for young people in resource-rich communities; and second, it aims to understand how youth perceptions of, and responses to, extractive industry expansion may be influencing the ways in which mining companies understand and fashion their business and social responsibility strategies. Drawing upon field-based research carried out in Sierra Leone's diamondiferous Kono District, where there has been a recent proliferation of foreign interest in mineral extraction, the paper critically explores heterogeneity within the social category of youth, and its relationship to social activism, mining and livelihoods. Focus group discussions and key informant interviews were carried out with different groupings of youth based upon similarity and difference (e.g. students, rural youth working in mining and those not, and by gender and ethnicity). These were complemented by in-depth semi-structured interviews with mining company officials to understand how, if at all, corporate practices and strategies were being shaped by youth issues. For young people in Kono District, it was apparent that the underlying agendas and motivations for engaging with mining companies varied considerably between different subgroupings of youth, as did the responses of companies to these different voices. Following this introduction, the first section of the paper contextualizes the wider global political economy that is shaping the on-going and rapid expansion of extractive industry investments in sub-Saharan Africa. More specifically, the tenets of neoliberalism are briefly reviewed and some of its associated social and environmental impacts are explored, as indigenous populations are displaced and key livelihood resources, such as land, minerals and water, are appropriated during the process of accumulation. This discussion sets the stage for section two, which locates Sierra Leone within this process. Here, youth perceptions of mining investment are explored to illuminate the factors underlying a diversity of responses to the expansion of extractive industries. This analysis follows on to section three, which reflects upon how youth responses to extractive industry expansion may be influencing the ways in which mining companies understand and fashion their business and social responsibility strategies. Ultimately, as is suggested in the conclusion, a better understanding of how diverse interpretations of ‘sustainability’ become shaped by conflicting interests and underlying agendas remains critical for ensuring that young people in Sierra Leone become included in development processes that have for so long been dominated by powerful actors.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
While Sierra Leone is still recovering from the brutal legacy of its recent diamond-fuelled civil war, the country is now positioned on the verge of an unprecedented period of economic growth, driven principally by the discovery of vast new deposits of strategic minerals. Most notably, recent international investments in the exploitation of iron ore and the discovery of commercially-viable offshore oil deposits on the Sierra Leone-Liberia basin, suggest that the management of natural resources will continue to assume a high priority on both political and development agendas. However, a number of other recent international investments in the country's natural resource sectors have been overshadowed by social and environmental grievances by local populations. For example, the degradation associated with rutile mining and the expropriation of vast areas of land for growing commercial bio-fuel crops for export, have increasingly fuelled conflict rather than stimulated development within catchment communities. In the wake of a pending ‘revenue bonanza’ driven by natural resource exploitation, the question of how resource benefits will be channelled back to their communities of origin, and indeed the general populace at large, has returned to centre stage. Perhaps at the heart of these concerns are the very issues raised in this paper that concern relationships between youth, companies and extractive industry investment. While young people in Sierra Leone continue to remain at the margins of most of the major mineral investments that have recently taken place, a resource boom has also opened up new opportunities for young people to become involved in development brokerage. For example, some mining-based youth advocacy groups have found new opportunities for attracting external development funding from international actors. As poverty and hardship have become entrenched during the post-war period, evidence suggests that some youth may be drawing upon mining-focused social activism as a new livelihood strategy and an avenue to advance their causes. The same marginalization that has constrained many young people has also in many ways fostered great resourcefulness and opened up new possibilities for capturing resources. But perhaps a broader final conclusion that emerges is that there is a pressing need to reconsider the diverse range of corporate responses to youth mobilizations around extractive industry, and reflect upon how these have enhanced interests in youth issues and sustainability issues. While it is clear that youth-focused community development initiatives are increasingly becoming central to the business strategies of mining companies, a multiplicity of sustainability agendas must be accommodated in order to insulate corporate actors from potential risks and to protect their ‘social license to operate’. Understanding how diverse interpretations of sustainability become shaped by conflicting interests and underlying agendas remains critical for ensuring that young people in Sierra Leone become included in development processes that have for so long been dominated by powerful actors.