From the Niger Delta in Nigeria to the southern part of Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa is blessed with a vast array of natural resources. To paint a more vivid picture, Ghana is endowed with a vast deposit of gold, manganese, bauxite and diamond. Similarly, vast deposits of manganese, gold, copper, uranium, bauxite and limestone can be found in Burkina Faso. Furthermore, Niger is the fourth-largest producer of uranium globally; while Mali is the third-largest producer of gold, and Guinea is home to 50% of the global bauxite reserve.
Despite these enormous mineral deposits in West African countries, West Africans are among the poorest in the world. The exploitation of these minerals demonstrates little or no positive improvements in the lives of West Africans. Extractive industries exploit these minerals for their profits. They do so, largely, to the detriment of the immediate communities in which they mine. This, coupled with weak legislation, or rhetorically robust legislation that is not implemented to the latter, leaves West Africans in abject poverty.
Some civil society organisations (CSOs) recognise these actions that scale up poverty in West Africa. Some CSOs have engaged in a variety of actions to hold governments and mining companies to put the interest of citizens at the heart of mining deals. This paper highlights the challenges in the mining industry vis-à-vis West African citizens. It zooms in on the role played by some CSOs in different countries that are championing advocacy efforts to ensure that West African citizens derive more benefits from the extractive processes in their communities.
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