Machonachie - Diamond Mining, Governance Initiatives and Post-conflict Development in Sierra Leone

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Machonachie - Diamond Mining, Governance Initiatives and Post-conflict Development in Sierra Leone

Machonachie, R., Diamond Mining, Governance Initiatives and Post-conflict Development in Sierra Leone, (Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI) Working Paper 50, University of Manchester, July 2008)

This paper focuses on good governance challenges faced in small scale diamond mining in Sierra Leone. The paper critically examines two diamond initiatives in the mining sector, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) and the Diamond Area Community Development Fund (DACDF), with a note of shortcomings in their implementation processes. In this regard, the author notes that as a result of the dispersed geological nature of diamond deposits, their governance and trade are exceptionally challenging and are capable of rendering the KPCS initiative somewhat ineffective. Similarly, concerns over the misuse of funds, lack of transparency, lower community awareness and participation in decision making processes over the use of funds are factors militating against the effectiveness of the DACDF.

The author then considers the broader implications of the lessons learnt from the above initiatives on the implementation of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the country. Although it is acknowledged that EITI may help in improved transparency, political stability and better investment climate, the author argues that many of the challenges experienced in the KPCS/DACDF initiatives will be experienced by the EITI initiative because there has been no culture of transparency and accountability in the country’s mining sector. Again, maintaining the status quo will benefit many groups firmly entrenched in illicit diamond mining trade.

The paper concludes that the ability of these initiatives, without more, to address these issues remains doubtful. This is partially due to the complex monitoring processes associated with the initiatives which are unsuitable for a country just emerging from a long period of conflict and isolation, shortage of human capacity and lack of accountability and transparency. The EITI candidacy status is however believed to be a step in the right direction.

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