Whose minerals, whose development? : rhetoric and reality in post-conflict Sierra Leone / Leo Zulu, Sigismond Wilson

Despite boosts in mineral exports, popular post-conflict minerals-for-development reforms in Sierra Leone have failed to significantly reduce poverty. This article uses power as an analytical lens to explore the reasons for this failure, with empirical material from the diamond sector's mining cooperatives scheme (2005), the Diamond Areas Community Development Fund (DACDF), and Kono District. The study shows that there was no significant improvement along four dimensions: material deprivation, education and health, vulnerability, and powerlessness. The authors argue that understanding the impact of these reforms requires a nuanced multi-scalar examination of power relations, actors, and the social, political, economic and historical context within which mining is embedded. Their findings point to: 1) limits to mineral-led poverty reduction and the need for realistic expectations and diversification of livelihood opportunities; and 2) the need for interventions that balance power asymmetries and the way that power is exercised among diverse actors, wherein decentralization offers early hope. [Abstract]