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Citizens, subjects or a dual mandate? Artisanal miners, 'supporters' and the resource scramble in Sierra Leone


  • Sylvia Ojukutu-Macauley
  • Andrew Keili


There have been developments in the twentieth-century and twenty-first-century history of Africa that scholars and observers have commonly referred to as a 'scramble', with no attempt to put them in their proper historical perspective. This paper interrogates the historical concept of a 'scramble' to explain the political economy of Sierra Leone's mineral resources. Although the modern-day 'scramble' phenomenon might look 'new' on the surface, closer examination reveals that it still carries certain genes that were inherited from the nineteenth-century parent organism, making it not so much a 'new' scramble as a mutated version of the old. The paper assesses the relationship between artisanal miners, 'supporters' and exporters, on the one hand, and the government and other key stakeholders, on the other, in the scramble for diamonds in Sierra Leone. It also examines the economic and environmental consequences, including government and stakeholders' response.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylvia Ojukutu-Macauley & Andrew Keili, 2008. "Citizens, subjects or a dual mandate? Artisanal miners, 'supporters' and the resource scramble in Sierra Leone," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(5), pages 513-530.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:25:y:2008:i:5:p:513-530
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350802447610

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    Cited by:

    1. Verbrugge, Boris & Besmanos, Beverly, 2016. "Formalizing artisanal and small-scale mining: Whither the workforce?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 134-141.

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