“Local Content is politics”: An examination of the origins of local content policies in Guinea’s mining sector

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In a quest to overcome the resource curse and enclave extractivism, many resource rich countries opt to implement local content policies (LCPs), a popular type of mining reform. LCPs aim to facilitate inclusive resource-based development through the maximization of local direct and indirect employment, as well as the creation of linkages along and beyond the mining value chain. This paper examines why countries like Guinea – a low-income country extremely rich in bauxite and the focus of this article – are designing and implementing LCPs. In so doing, the reasons related to extractivism are highlighted, as well as the political motivations for implementing LCPs.

Both reasons expose problematic realities that harm successful LCP design and implementation. First, although the aim of LCPs is to overcome enclave extractivism and resource curse effects, LCPs operate alongside extractivism, thus reinforcing structural deficiencies. Second, the political motivations behind the implementation of LCPs, through a commitment to the African Mining Vision, as well as Guinean LCPs being a top-down presidential political project, make LCP implementation challenging. This Guinean case study showcases the processes through which mining reforms are entangled in national and regional politics and how the reality of ongoing extractivism can undermine reform efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101158
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Early online date16 Sep 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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