Environmental Struggles in Africa — a new Ghana case

by Steven Langdon

Mineral developments in many African countries used to give minimal attention to environmental effects. But this has been changing in recent years. Our recent book, “African Economic Development” (published in 2018 by Routledge,) outlines examples from Nigeria, Liberia, Niger and Mozambique; local communities and environmental groups in these cases have worked to counter pollution damage to people and wildlife, drawing support from such foreign institutions as the European Investment Bank and from domestic university scholars.

Now a major Chinese-financed initiative to mine bauxite in Ghana has spurred similar objections from local environmental and community groups. The Ghana government has stressed high economic benefits from the mining project, but protestors point to considerable potential damage to the rainforest ecology in Ghana. Ghana’s famous Kakum National Park, with its tree-top canopy walk amidst huge old-growth trees, is an example of this ecology in the country.

Environmental and community groups have seen success in enforcing punitive payments from petroleum multinational corporations in Nigeria, and have established improved pollution policies in the case of the aluminum smelter operated by BHP Billiton in Mozambique.

What will be the outcome of this new struggle in Ghana? This will be a case to track carefully. See the attached link for more information.


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