Are Diamonds Sierra Leone’s Best Friend? – Investigating Economic Development

by Sofie Gregersen-Diaz

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Sierra Leone; Resource Curse
Record ID: 1122377
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/16480


This project investigates the diamond mining industry in Sierra Leone, and which changes that can be seen both economically and in lieu of livelihoods and different initiatives that have been implemented after a shift towards a more industrial mode of production. Terms like conflict commodity and resources, the initiatives of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) and the Diamond Area Development Fund (DACDF) and the concepts of industrialization, economic development and livelihood are used to answer the research question: How has the diamond mining industry in Sierra Leone changed after the implementation of an industrial mode of production, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and Diamond Area Community Development Fund, and how have these changes shaped the economic development of Sierra Leone? The theory of the resource curse attempts to enlighten the paradox of developing countries that are rich in natural resources, but experience negative economic consequences. It is used to analyse, discuss and contextualise the changes happening in the Sierra Leonean diamond mining. The critique of the resource curse is used to recognize, that some scholars (e.g. Brunnschweiler and Bulte 2008; 2009) find the original theory insufficient on its own. Throughout the project the change in mode of production within the diamond mining industry from an artisanal to an industrial mode of production, and the different international and governmental initiatives (in particular the KPCS and the DACDF) to encourage said shift, are issues used when discussing and analysing the changes in the economic development of Sierra Leone. The shift towards a larger part of the diamond mining industry in Sierra Leone having an industrial mode of production can be seen as Sierra Leone being willing to develop their diamond mining industry, welcoming investment from foreign companies and thus attempting to release themselves from the negative effects of an abundance of natural resources as mentioned in the resource curse. Despite the efforts made by the Sierra Leonean government to counter these negative consequences core features from the resource are still apparent in the resource dependent country. Therefore, like some scholars recommend, this project advocates that better management of the natural resources through the on-going improvement of the implementation of initiatives like the KPCS and the DACDF and a move towards a more easily managed industrial mode of production is one way to avoid the resource curse (e.g. Maconachie, 2010; Le Billon, 2006/2007). However attention is also needed on tackling issues like corruption and misgovernance if the above mentioned steps are to succeed (Maconachie, 2010).