Africa is experiencing one of the fastest growing economies in the world, second only to China. A significant source of this growth is revenue generated by mineral development, which is providing African nations with greater opportunities to invest in education, job creation and social programs that hold the promise of increasing prosperity and well-being.
Heeding a Ghanaian proverb that states, “If an opportunity is not taken when it comes, it passes away,” Ghana has chosen to seize the opportunities created through its natural resource wealth. And with support from Newmont Ghana, Ghanaians are effecting positive change in their lives and in their communities. Just a few examples include:
- Bernard Fosu, an employee of Newmont and a beneficiary of Newmont’s Emerging Talent Program, pursued a degree in mineral engineering and graduated best among his peers at Ghana’s University of Mines and Technology. He is helping other students improve their grades for a better chance at acceptance into colleges and universities.
- Felix Baffour Agyebinti, a third-year medical student at Kwame Nkruman University of Science and Technology, is pursuing his dream of becoming a doctor and opening a medical clinic in the community of Wamahinso.
- Theresa Tweneboah, owner of a cold storage business at the Wamahinso market, took out microcredit that enabled her to expand her business and broaden her service area to the nearby communities of Amomaso and Atuahenekrom.
- Constance Agyeiwaa, manager of a provisions shop, used microcredit to purchase canned drinks and biscuits for her store, resulting in a substantial increase in her profit margins.
While their stories are different, these four individuals share a common desire to improve their quality of life. Through the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF) – which funds sustainable development initiatives in the 10 host communities within Newmont Ghana’s Ahafo Mine area – loans are given to small business owners and academic scholarships are awarded to promising students including Bernard, Felix, Theresa, Constance, and hundreds of other community members working toward prosperity and self-reliance.
“NADeF has helped raise the standard of living of our people,” says Nana Antwi Owusu Eric, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee for Ntotroso. In Ntotroso and nine other local communities, Sustainable Development Committees (SDCs) serve as liaisons between their communities and NADeF. The SDCs propose projects in consultation with their communities and the local government (District Assembly).
NADeF has “a significant number of … men and women who benefited from NADeF’s microcredit facility and have been able to transform and expand their businesses,” Nana Antwi Owusu Eric added.
Established in 2008, NADeF is funded by Newmont Ghana, which donates 1 percent of its annual net profit and $1.00 per ounce of gold produced to the foundation. In just five years, the NADeF, in partnership with key stakeholders in the communities surrounding the Ahafo mine, has created 63 development projects valued at $6 million. These include infrastructure enhancements aimed at improving education, health and economic empowerment, such as water treatment facilities that provide clean drinking water to host communities, and new schools, libraries and an Information Communication Technology Centre for local students.
“These interventions are part of efforts to develop the human resource base of our host communities,” says NADeF Executive Secretary, Joseph Danso. They are also the building blocks that will enable Ghana to sustain economic growth well beyond the life of our mine.
But not all of our financial contributions to Ghana are through the foundation. Since July 2006, we have paid the Ghanaian government more than $560 million in taxes and royalties. In addition, an independent study on the socio-economic impact of Newmont’s operations in Ghana’s Brong-Ahafo region found that for every one job created at Newmont, a total of 28 jobs are supported throughout the country, which means Newmont’s Ahafo mine directly and indirectly generates some 48,000 jobs in Ghana. In preparation for the ultimate closure of the Ahafo mine, we are providing our host communities with knowledge, resources and skills to help them identify and pursue other income-generating opportunities that lead to sustainable economic growth, long after the mine closes.
For example, through our Agricultural Improvement and Land Access Program (AILAP), we help farmers affected by our operations re-establish their agricultural livelihoods. Given that agriculture accounts for more than 25 percent of Ghana’s gross domestic product, we believe farming offers a viable and sustainable source of income for farmers relocated by our operations.
Our Ahafo Linkages Program, created in partnership with the International Finance Corporation, creates income opportunities beyond subsistence farming and supports the development of local businesses. Our Skill Development and Income Improvement Program provides farmers and youth various farm and non-farm technical and vocational skills that can lead to alternative sources of income. The Vulnerable People’s Program complements all of the above programs by assisting the community’s most vulnerable households to become self-sufficient through vocational training, access to food and counseling.
The goal of our social and economic programs is to improve the quality of life for those living near our operations and create momentum for what we hope is sustainable economic development in Ghana.
To learn more about Newmont’s programs and initiatives that encourage sustainable development in Ghana, visit the NADeF website.