This panel focuses on the economic, social and cultural change associated with rapid and/or erratic rates of urban growth propelled by mining expansion in Africa. It explores the implications for national and local development and policy issues.
After several decades of economic decline, mining's growing importance in many African economies has been welcomed, but the rate of sectoral transformation from rural agrarian to more urbanized mining economies, has not afforded sufficient time for policymakers to fully appreciate the nature of the developmental processes underway. On the other hand, presently the social science literatures on African urbanization and African mining do not intersect, although their subject matters crisscross in a number of ways that are key to understanding national, regional and local level development in mining countries. This panel addresses the need for analytical apprehension of rapid changes in livelihood, urban settlement and poverty patterns arising from the expansion of mining activity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The objectives are to identify the growth rates, patterns and problems of mine-induced urbanization, tracing the influence of mining in 'urban birth and development' at national and local levels. This embraces analysis of overall continental trends as well as comparing mature and newer small-scale mining settlements in specific contexts to reveal differences in patterns of urbanization and mineralization of the economy. The panel welcomes paper-givers with case studies and/or theoretical contributions on this theme.