Despite high levels of risk, the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector provides important informal livelihoods to millions of people. However, these gains often come at a cost. Many newcomers to the sector are exploited by buyers and middlemen and become trapped in a cycle of borrowing and indebtedness. There is little official recognition of this exploitation and little done to break the cycle. It has been argued that formalization of ASM is the key to empowering unregistered miners and making the sector more sustainable.
This project’s goal was to deepen the understanding of formal and informal financial flows in ASM communities. By recording and analyzing detailed financial dairies for 36 mining households in rural Ghana, the study exposed how formal and informal financial relations affect the livelihoods and well-being of poor individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The research was shared with government officials to inform formalization and micro-financing models.
This project improved understanding of the formal and informal financial relations and flows in a typical ASM community. This allowed: