An earlier version of this paper was presented at the international conference, ‘Rethinking Extractive Industry Regulation, Dispossession and Emerging Claims’, Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, York University, Canada, 5–7 March 2009. The author would like to thank Dr Roy Maconachie, Professor Chris Garforth and a number of anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier drafts. Financial support for this research was provided by the British Academy (Grant SG-42821 –‘Child Labour: A Necessary Evil in West African Artisanal Mining Communities?’).
Child Labour in African Artisanal Mining Communities: Experiences from Northern Ghana
Article first published online: 25 JUN 2010
© International Institute of Social Studies 2010
Development and Change
Volume 41, Issue 3, pages 445–473, May 2010
How to Cite
Hilson, G. (2010), Child Labour in African Artisanal Mining Communities: Experiences from Northern Ghana. Development and Change, 41: 445–473. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7660.2010.01646.x
- Issue published online: 25 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 25 JUN 2010
The issue of child labour in the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) economy is attracting significant attention worldwide. This article critically examines this ‘problem’ in the context of sub-Saharan Africa, where a lack of formal sector employment opportunities and/or the need to provide financial support to their impoverished families has led tens of thousands of children to take up work in this industry. The article begins by engaging with the main debates on child labour in an attempt to explain why young boys and girls elect to pursue arduous work in ASM camps across the region. The remainder of the article uses the Ghana experience to further articulate the challenges associated with eradicating child labour at ASM camps, drawing upon recent fieldwork undertaken in Talensi-Nabdam District, Upper East Region. Overall, the issue of child labour in African ASM communities has been diagnosed far too superficially, and until donor agencies and host governments fully come to grips with the underlying causes of the poverty responsible for its existence, it will continue to burgeon.