November 17, 2016 – Three teams of local PEP researchers, supported under the PAGE initiative, held a joint national policy conference in Burkina Faso to discuss their findings and policy recommendations relating to the Impact of mining operations and Chinese commercial expansion in Burkina Faso with key policymakers and stakeholders.
More than 60 government officials, representatives of national institutes and international organizations, NGOs, researchers, academics and journalists attended the event, including the Minister of Energy, Mines and Quarries, a representative for the Minister of Higher Education, and the President of the Université Ouaga II.
The first team presented the findings of their PEP study on:
The impact of gold mining on socio-economic outcomes for those living close to mines - presented by Agnès Zabsonré.
The team’s analysis indicates that the poverty rate is reduced by eight percentage points, and the annual average household income increases by 12 percentage points compared to areas without gold mines. However, the findings also indicate that gold mining increases inequality and child labor, which in turn leads to lower education rates. Based on these findings, the research team recommends that policies supporting the development of the gold industry be supplemented by measures that encourage education and reduce inequality. Find out more about their research, findings and recommendations in PEP Policy Brief 145 (in French).
The second team’s presentation looked at the findings of their:
CGE model analysis of mining sector growth and economic development in Burkina Faso - presented by Delphine Carole Sisso.
Their findings suggest that a 15% reduction in the price of gold would reduce exports leading to a 19% reduction of employment in the mining sector and a 15.9% decrease in public revenues. Based on their findings, the research team recommends several measures to protect the national economy from shocks to the mining sector. These include establishing a unit-based fee, annuity or profit-based taxation rates, and a stabilization fund for public revenues from the mining sector.
The final PEP team discussed their findings regarding the:
Impact of China’s economic and trade expansion on poverty in Burkina Faso - presented by Boureima Sawadogo.
Explaining the positive effects of Chinese investment, particularly in Burkina Faso’s stock of productive capital, on economic growth and on the welfare of the population. Based on the team’s findings, the researchers recommend orienting Chinese investment funds towards the production sector (agriculture, mining, and manufacturing), the telecommunications sector, and infrastructure in order to increase both the volume and the value of exports to China. Find out more about their research, findings and recommendations in PEP Policy Brief 122 (in French).
After the presentations, a senior economist at the World Bank chaired the debate during which the three teams received questions, comments and suggestions from the floor.
The conference provided the opportunity for three teams of PEP researchers to familiarize many key stakeholders with their research, findings and recommendations, both at the event and thanks to the significant media coverage that the event attracted.
Following the presentations, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Quarries congratulated the teams saying: “I am so pleased that the results from these studies can be used to inform future decision making in the mining sector.” The Minister added that in the meantime, gold panning should be organized to encourage the artisanal gold sector that can attract up to a million people each year, increasing the economic impact of the gold industry while minimizing the social and environmental impact.
The moderator, a senior World Bank economist, recommended that those present create a discussion group to ensure stakeholders are kept informed about current and future research. The research teams were also approached for future research collaborations on similar topics or using similar methods.
Five newspapers with national circulation reported from the conference, including details of the research findings. Articles (in French) about the conference are available via the online editions of Sidwaya and Le Faso. PEP also broadcast the event via live audio streaming, listen again online.
The conference was organized by the three teams in collaboration with PEP, Université Ouaga II, and other partners. This conference was the first time that PEP has helped local teams coordinate an event of this magnitude, with support for coordination, broadcasting and results dissemination continuing as part of a new initiative under the PAGE II program.
The President of the Université Ouaga II said: “In organizing this event to disseminate the results of empirical research, and the recommendations stemming from this research, the PEP network and the University can move forward in broadening the exchanges and links between development policies, economic growth and employment in Burkina Faso.”
“This conference showed, once again, the quality of the work produced by PEP researchers, not only in terms of their results but also in how they put the research evidence to use, promoting better-informed policy decisions favoring development and inclusiveness,” said Manuel Paradis, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator for PEP. Mr. Paradis assisted the research teams both ahead of the conference and on the day. He was pleased to remark that PEP national policy conferences remain an important vehicle for “reaching target audiences and democratizing PEP findings, as well as highlighting the contribution of PEP and its donors.”