Title

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH

Presenter Information

Kirsa Shelkey

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The research conducted in this paper examines the diamond mining permit held by Korean C & K Mining in Cameroon’s Eastern Province, and the company’s relationship with the government, as well as the many other actors with legitimate claims to the same land. With a complete lack of transparency in the sector, poor governmental capacity, dedication and incentives for company oversight, a high level of secrecy in terms of C & K Mining, and the complete lack of an informed and connected civil society, it is the finding of this paper that diamonds will only play into the resource curse. Furthermore, it will be the local communities that will bear the largest costs associated with diamond exploitation, as they will receive no economic benefit and will lose their land, livelihoods, and, for the indigenous Baka, their culture. Legal land ownership and property rights matter, as does good governance, but where all land resources legally belong to the state, and the state is characterized not by the people, but by a bloated crony-styled bureaucracy, the law of the land is, literally, government expropriation and re-appropriation to the entity that will garner the most economic rent. In this way, local communities have no real economic or political bargaining power. In terms of the current state of Cameroonian affairs, coexistence and universal benefit from diamonds at Mobilong are highly unlikely. Instead, what is more likely is the eruption of conflict between the various actors and the further marginalization of the land and those local communities that live off of it.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 15th, 4:00 PM Apr 15th, 4:20 PM

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH

UC 330

The research conducted in this paper examines the diamond mining permit held by Korean C & K Mining in Cameroon’s Eastern Province, and the company’s relationship with the government, as well as the many other actors with legitimate claims to the same land. With a complete lack of transparency in the sector, poor governmental capacity, dedication and incentives for company oversight, a high level of secrecy in terms of C & K Mining, and the complete lack of an informed and connected civil society, it is the finding of this paper that diamonds will only play into the resource curse. Furthermore, it will be the local communities that will bear the largest costs associated with diamond exploitation, as they will receive no economic benefit and will lose their land, livelihoods, and, for the indigenous Baka, their culture. Legal land ownership and property rights matter, as does good governance, but where all land resources legally belong to the state, and the state is characterized not by the people, but by a bloated crony-styled bureaucracy, the law of the land is, literally, government expropriation and re-appropriation to the entity that will garner the most economic rent. In this way, local communities have no real economic or political bargaining power. In terms of the current state of Cameroonian affairs, coexistence and universal benefit from diamonds at Mobilong are highly unlikely. Instead, what is more likely is the eruption of conflict between the various actors and the further marginalization of the land and those local communities that live off of it.