Ghana is the second largest gold producing country in Africa, and the majority of its population suffers from basic developmental needs. There is a history of conflict around the mining sector in the country and a perception that local communities receive fewer benefits than they should. Two major gold mining companies and USAID/Ghana collaborated to create a tri-partite Global Development Alliance (GDA) aimed at improving the lives of Ghanaians in mining communities. Together they sought the help of BSR professionals to assess the internal capacity of alliance partners and to define key focus areas for Alliance activities.
A team of two BSR consultants traveled to Ghana to engage with more than 30 stakeholders, including development NGOs, government representatives, local community representatives, the Chamber of Mines, and the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), as well as the three members of the Alliance. The BSR team gathered input, completed additional research, and then developed recommendations for the respective Alliance partner's roles and for three key activity areas:
- Capacity building for local government structures and civil society
- Local economic development through enhanced community livelihood programs
- Development of Ghanaian best practice guidelines for social engagement and management of social issues associated with the mining industry
BSR's input was critical in finalizing the strategy for the Alliance framework and in defining the scope of activities to be undertaken by the Alliance partners. A key outcome of our involvement was alignment of Alliance objectives with local development needs and priorities.
"There was a lot of enthusiasm from the local community," a former participant notes, "and the Ghana Responsible Mining Alliance will be seen as a leading example of innovative and large scale partnerships."
The GDA is currently planned to have a duration of four years and will direct US$10 million from the three partners toward economic development and capacity-building programs in the gold mining regions of Ghana.