Monday, September 26, 2011

Small-Scale Mining Business in Ghana: Challenges and Prospects

Author: Yaw Adu-Gyamfi
Small-scale mining is essentially an artisanal or small industrial form of raw material extraction. In Ghana, there are about 300 registered small-scale mining groups and they constitute a major source of employment especially for small-scale gold and diamond miners, and contribute some foreign exchange to Ghana’s economy. However, there are a lot more of such groups that are not registered, and cannot access any meaningful form of support to boost their business.
Apart from gold and diamonds, other small-scale activities serving for employment for a lot of people center on the extraction of salt, kaolin, silica, sand, brown clay, aggregates and crushed rocks, etc. However, most small-scale miners popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’ engage in gold mining.
Miners in Ghana, West Africa
There are several challenges faced by small-scale miners. These also pose a great danger to the environment. The activities of the miners pollute rivers and streams nearby that serve as a source of drinking water for communities downstream. The ‘crude’ technologies used also pose a danger to the miners themselves who constantly get hurt on the job due to poor occupational-safety standards. 
Aside from the environmental and occupational hazards, these businesses are not registered; hence, they do not benefit from any form of training to improve their business practices. The non-registration of their businesses also means government loses the requisite taxes for development.
Small-scale mining is often poverty driven and located in rural areas. Miners are generally unskilled and earn little. Individuals may be involved in a number of different types of mining activity: Gold or diamond rush, this is characterized by unstable communities, which are often saddled with environmental degradation from crude methods used. In Ghana, the Birim and Densu Rivers in the Eastern Region are examples of rivers that serve as a source of drinking water for several communities but have been gravely affected by small-scale mining activities.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oliberte - Exports Shoes and Creates Jobs in Africa

Oliberté manufactures shoes in Africa and exports them. Through their activities, they are helping to create jobs in Africa, while providing quality footwear to the markets they service. Above all, they value the positive impact they are having in Africa over the cheaper labor that they could obtain in China.

Watch segment on Oliberté's, CNN International, Africa Marketplace

Watch an interview with Oliberté's founder, Tal Dehtiar


Check out the footwear line at {www.oliberte.com}
Follow Oliberté on twitter @Oliberte

Monday, September 19, 2011

Triple Helix Approach to Sustained Socio-Economic Development in Africa

Author: Yaw Adu-Gyamfi

The new economy is about speed, quality, flexibility, innovation, networks, and building critical mass. Clustering is particularly important in supporting competitiveness of old and emerging industries with a potential for growth. Clustering can be defined as a process that drives firms and other actors within triple helix collaboration towards a common goal and establish new constellations, relations, and strategic alliances. Such an approach tends to reduce cost and create new value for and with each other all to improve the innovativeness and long–term competitiveness.

Across the African continent, the Pan-African Competitiveness Forum seeks to bring together professionals in Government, Private Sector, Academia, Civil Society sectors and Development Partners to engage in cluster based business competitiveness initiatives and holds an annual conference from alternating venues across Africa affording a platform to network and explore business and partnership opportunities.

For a cluster to be competitive, a cluster initiative consisting of all the companies and organizations that are linked together in collaboration or competition in value creation need to be aligned towards a common vision that harnesses the skills, efforts and commitment of its firms or members. Clustering further provides the opportunity for people most motivated to address society’s greatest challenges realizing that self-organization and civic action are the foundation of society. People directly experiencing a need have the most intimate understanding of it, and are most able to drive the process towards meeting challenges.

The Holy Matrimony of Capitalism and Philanthropy, and their Honeymoon in Africa

Social enterprise. Social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs.

During the past few years, leading up to our current day, academic forums and conferences on African development have been increasingly suffused with the appeal of this new practice. Often, other catch phrases heard when social enterprise is mentioned are ‘innovation,’ ‘sustainable development,’ and ‘scalable projects.’ These are the confetti served at the prolonged wedding of capitalism and philanthropy. Particularly, the aid community is generously helping itself to these confetti, and tagging along on the honeymoon to Africa, well dressed for the occasion in business casual attire.