This project is designed to examine the overall benefits of mining to local communities in Ghana through the lens of community benefits agreements (CBAs) in order to make policy recommendations to the Government of Ghana. CBAs are an increasingly common approach by mining companies to gain a “social license to operate” in local communities, upon whom they depend for property rights, workers, contractors, and a stable environment in which to operate. CBAs are well-intentioned vehicles to lay down in formal detail the benefits that the company agrees to provide to the community, both in regard to financial amounts pledged and in the delivery of certain types of employment, procurement, and projects. They are promises by mining companies to go beyond the usual arrangements with national and regional governments for the payment of leases, royalties, and taxes to operate mines. In some countries, such as Canada, they are required, but in Ghana they are voluntary. As will be discussed in a forthcoming study by the authors’ notes, CBAs generally lack any clear monitoring and evaluation system. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are well-accepted parts of development project practice, yet they have not yet been incorporated to any discernible degree into CBA design and practice. Such systems would be vital to provide evidence that mining companies are fulfilling their promises to the communities in which they operate.
This study provides a set of broad policy and legal-regulatory recommendations and a set of recommendations specific to CBAs, directed at the appropriate national, regional, and local government authorities in Ghana.