Trust Funds as Localized Strategies for Sharing Mining Benefits in Ghana: Experiences with Transparency, Participation, and Community Development Practices
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This thesis examines the role of trust funds in the extractive industry in Ghana. Since the 1990s, mining companies have increasingly adopted trust funds as approaches to enhance the flow of mineral wealth to host communities, especially in resource-rich developing countries. Drawing on a qualitative case study of the Obuasi Community Trust Fund and Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF) in Ghana, the thesis examined the two trust funds with a focus on transparency and participation as key components of good governance, and their potential as corporate approaches to community development. Trust funds have often been established when there has been a pressing need for enhanced transparency and stakeholder participation in the management and use of resource revenues targeting host communities. In Ghana, for example, large scale gold mining has had diverse negative consequences and despite the large revenues generated over several decades, the mining communities are among the poorest in Ghana. Conclusions drawn by a number of researchers suggest that in Ghana, and elsewhere, lack of accountability, patronage, local power dynamics, corruption, and local elite capture in the responsible institutions have contributed to misappropriation of funds, which has left host communities with no significant benefits while at the same time they bear the environmental and social costs of large-scale mining. Against this background, the thesis addresses five key questions: (1) How is the practice of transparency embedded in the management of the trust funds, (2) How are participatory practices embedded in the management of the trust funds, (3) How are the trust funds’ transparency and participatory practices perceived by the various stakeholder groups, (4) How are the shared benefits perceived by the host communities, (5) What is the potential of using trust funds as a corporate-led strategy for community development and what are the main challenges of this approach? This thesis shows that the Obuasi Community Trust Fund and NADeF have mechanisms for disseminating information that should enhance transparency and ensuring the representation of all stakeholders. They both also have participatory governance platforms that seek to foster participation in decision making processes in their governance structures. However, a number of challenges and limitations remain for the trust funds to meet their objectives efficiently. Based on three articles, the thesis finds that the trust funds lack expedient ways to disseminate sufficient and relevant information to the beneficiaries, ensure suitable conditions for participation practices that would foster equal opportunities for all stakeholders to influence decision-making, and include community members in assessing their needs and wishes with regards to the trust fund funded projects and programs. The thesis contributes to the academic scholarship of natural resource revenue governance in general, and particularly to the literature on transparency and corporate-led community development in two key ways. First, it improves our understanding of transparency with respect to how representation and participation should be integrated into its operationalization in order to elevate transparency’s effectiveness. Second, the thesis enhances our knowledge of revenue distribution at local community level and the dynamics of localizing global corporate-led community development strategies in the context of resource-rich developing countries. In conclusion, the findings suggest that mining companies should place emphasis on improving the local institutional quality and capacity. This is important because the trust funds operate in a context in which the outcomes of benefit sharing, and the redistribution of mineral wealth, are characterized by numerous compromises and challenges.
Består avPaper 1: Kasimba, Sam Akol; Lujala, Päivi. There is no one amongst us with them! Transparency and participation in local natural resource revenue management. The Extractive Industries and Society 2018 s. 1-8 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2018.10.011
Paper 2: Kasimba, Sam A. "Sometimes it feels like everything has been decided!” Challenges faced by participatory governance platforms when sharing mining benefits.
Paper 3: Kasimba, Sam A. Examining host communities’ perceptions on trust funds as corporate strategies for community development in Ghana