Oil, gas, and mining projects generate billions of dollars in the developing world, yet very little of this wealth benefits the communities where these resources are found. These communities often suffer from displacement, pollution, and a lack of meaningful voice in decisions about whether or not to extract. Oxfam has worked for more than 15 years to change this. Today we work with partners in more than 30 countries to enable people to effectively defend their rights to participate in decisions about natural resources and unlock resource revenues for development that meets their needs.
What’s at stake
Zimbabwe is endowed with abundant mineral resources, particularly diamonds and platinum. Yet the exploitation of those minerals–despite efforts like the Kimberley Process–has yet to deliver material improvements in the majority of peoples’ lives. The sector has come to be a major source of conflict, pitting communities and local organizations against government and private players. Yet it remains the leading sector that the Zimbabwean government hopes will drive the revival of the economy.
Poor policies and legislation, weak institutions, hostilities within the coalition government, and repression of affected communities like those in Marange, Mutoko, and the Great Dyke region make it difficult to hold mining companies and the government accountable. There remains very low public knowledge of the contracts that the government has signed with various mining companies and the risks that some mining companies may be evading taxes.
What we are doing
Oxfam’s extractive industries work in Zimbabwe is relatively new. Our work supports Zimbabweans to advocate for their rights, including:
- A share of benefits from mining revenues; and
- Inclusive forums for direct dialogue with the state and with mining companies to improve transparency and accountability, specifically regarding open contracting and licensing, and budget transparency and tracking with respect to mining-related revenue flows and expenditures at the national and local levels.
Many local organizations working in the extractives sector in Zimbabwe have struggled to coordinate their activities. Oxfam provides strategic support to Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) and Publish What You Pay Zimbabwe to work towards common policy advocacy and legal reform goals that are supported by strong evidence. Through its network, Oxfam will support Zimbabweans to access relevant information related to international mining companies in Zimbabwe that are also operating in other parts of the world.