Since 2003, Mali is the third producer of gold in Africa. Industrial gold mining has led to much hope for Mali’s economic development: the increase in state revenue should have had a positive impact on social expenditures in the areas of education, health, etc. Moreover, the establishment of a mining industry was expected to bring improvements in the situation of local communities.
Yet gold has not brought Mali out of poverty: the country ranks 175th among 177 countries in terms of human development. Mining codes set up with the support of the World Bank promote foreign investment by offering companies large tax exemptions for the first 5 years, depriving the State of the resources that could have been obtained from this economic activity, while a mine’s lifetime rarely goes beyond 10 to 15 years.
« Gold mining is an export-led sector that creates little employment and brings no benefits to the economy as a whole. Moreover, corporate social responsibilty programs of transnational corporations active in Mali are often insufficient or inappropriate, and companies don’t always respect national labour rights law, as illustrated by the conflict between Somadex and the Morila SA union on the payment of production benefits » declared Paul Nsapu, Secretary General of FIDH.
« The State, altogether tax collector, minority shareholder and public regulator, suffering endemic corruption, is in no position to control private actors and ensure that their activities contribute to the realization of Human Rights in Mali », added Isabelle Gourmelon, FIDH delegate.