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Sierra Leone is one of those countries endowed with diverse natural resources if well managed would contribute to addressing issues of unemployment, the provision of basic social services, rapid, and broader based development projects and minimize donor dependency. These are some of the country’s natural resources: Diamond, Bauxite, Titanium Oxide, Zircon, Gold, Iron ore….

Despite the abundance of these resources, realities reveal that the ordinary Sierra Leonean is yet to be informed or benefit from the resources in any significant form through the provision of basic services, especially those residing in mining communities.

 

Numerous factors have been claimed to be responsible for this state of affairs. This ranges from poor agreements with mining companies, weak laws, policies that are not reflective of the needs of the people or aimed at addressing the needs of the people. It therefore becomes ironical that Sierra Leone is referred to both as a country rich in natural resources and also as one of the least developed and poorest countries in the world. The paradox of plenty.

 

Exclusion of most key stakeholders such as land owners, opinion leaders in local communities, poor ownership of the process by indigenous groups have also been identified as a key challenge in the natural resource discourse from the natural resource governance speaker series organized by CGG.

 

The unfavorable degree of transparency and accountability in the extractive sector both by government and companies is becoming a serious concern that might lead to poor outcome(s). For instance, community awareness of mining contracts and agreements are poor and the EITI bill yet to be enacted.

Poor environmental protection by government and mining companies (large, small and artisan miners) on land reclamation continues to be a serious challenge and women suffer the consequences as most of them are involved in agriculture and are the heads of households. This is evident in Marampa Chiefdom (Lunsar-North of Sierra Leone), Imperi Chiefdom (Mogbwemo/Moriba Town-South of Sierra Leone); Tongor and Kono (East of Sierra Leone).

Finally, poor parliamentary scrutiny and oversight role of parliamentarians on the activities of mining companies ,poor compensation deals and weak engagement by CSO, CBOs, youth groups and women to engage mining companies and government to ensure good Community Development Plans and demand for adequate compensation remains a problem and continue to affect the development of mining communities.

Hope you find the project inception meeting report interesting.

Sahr Kendema

Progromme Officer

Campaign for Good Governance

Freetown,Sierra Leone.