Opportunity or Necessity? Conceptualizing Entrepreneurship at African Small-Scale Mines

Gavin Hilson, Abilgail Hilson, Roy Maconachie

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This article critically examines the policy environment in place for artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) – low-tech, labour-intensive mineral extraction and processing – in sub-Saharan Africa, with a view to determining whether there is adequate ‘space’ for the sector’s operators to flourish as entrepreneurs. In recent years, there has been growing attention paid to ASM in the region, particularly as a vehicle for stimulating local economic development. The work being planned under the Africa Mining Vision (AMV), a comprehensive policy agenda adopted by African heads of state in February 2009, could have an enormous impact on this front. One of its core objectives is to pressure host governments into Boosting Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining by following a series of streamlined recommendations. It is concluded, however, that there is a disconnect between how entrepreneurship in ASM has been interpreted and projected by proponents of the AMV on the one hand, and the form it has mostly taken in practice on the other hand. This gulf must be rapidly bridged if ASM is to have a transformative impact, economically, in the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-302
Number of pages17
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date30 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2018


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