Has Ghana Benefited From Its Natural Resources?
My mum always says God loves Ghana more than any other country. Although I normally laugh over this assertion, upon careful reflection, I think it is true. Ghana is indeed blessed with lots of resources naming a few are, precious metals like gold, diamond, silver, bauxite etc, and cocoa, timber, huge water bodies and recently the discovering of black gold (Oil). Ghana is currently the second largest producer of cocoa in the world behind Ivory Coast. It is Africa’s second biggest miner of gold behind South Africa and also the third largest producer of aluminium metal and Manganese ore. Cocoa is now the nation’s major foreign exchange earner and in the quarterly report of the Bank of Ghana, it is recorded that revenue from Cocoa in the first quarter of the year 2010 was $1.7 million. According to figures released by the Ghana Chamber of Mines, revenue from gold in 2010 was $2.611 billion; from diamond was $9.2 million and from bauxite was $13.9 million. A report of the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) states that the export of wood products for August 2010 alone was 12,506,030 Euros. In fact, I can go on and on to release revenues from these natural resources we are blessed with. However, despite the huge revenue from these resources, we are yet to see any major developments in the towns where these natural resources come from. Let us take a look at the mining towns in the country for example. Most of the infrastructures in Tarkwa, Obuasi, Prestea/Bogosso, Bibiani and the like are inaccessible. I sometimes wonder if these communities are really endowed with these precious metals. These mining communities are very much unlike other mining producing communities like Johannesburg in South Africa, Perth in Australia, Reno in the USA and Noranda City in Ontario, Canada, where you can actually see the riches and benefits of mining activities. Another issue is the high rate of local unemployment in these towns. This is as a result of heavy dependence in the mining sector by the locals for job opportunities. Another factor is the fluctuations in the mining industry fortunes which eventually lead to the closing down of many small scale mining companies’. To throw more lights, mining operations have had dire implications on the environment in the mining communities. Lastly the increasing poverty rate due to the negligence of mining companies to fulfil their social responsibilities towards the development of the communities in which they operate cannot be overlooked. If the President says 2011 is a year of action, then, government together with key stakeholders in the mining industry should come up with social responsibility policies that legally oblige the mining companies to develop the areas within which they operate. Also the government should use some of the revenues from these sectors to set up agro-based industries and other service industries to reduce the unemployment rate.
Source: Maclean, Thelma N.A
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