Ghana’s legal framework ensures that communities affected by mining activities receive a portion of royalties paid to the state. In 2016, the Government of Ghana passed the Mineral Development Fund (MDF) Act (Act 912). The act provides for a portion of mineral royalties to be allocated to subnational governments (district assemblies) in mining-affected communities to mitigate mining impacts and fund development. The MDF act requires the development of regulations that will guide its implementation one year after the act comes into force. However, though four years have passed since the act was operationalised, the government has yet to develop the necessary regulations.
Mineral royalties are a key source of revenue to subnational governments in mining-affected communities. These governments can use gender-responsive budgeting to address the differentiated needs of the community, particularly those of women. The National Gender Policy and the National Development Planning Commission’s (NDPC) guidelines on medium- term development plans for district assemblies impose gender-sensitive budgeting on all district assemblies. However, Ghana’s current budgeting process does not follow these standards. The failure to implement gender-responsive budgeting at the national and subnational levels could further entrench gender inequality, particularly in areas where men dominate the decision-making processes.
The MDF regulations provide an opportunity to model gender-responsive budgeting at the local level to ensure that the specific needs of men and women are identified and addressed. This is important as studies have shown that women and marginalised groups in mining- affected communities are more adversely impacted by mining activities than are men.
This research sought to examine how district and municipal assemblies have used mineral royalties to address women’s needs and the extent to which women’s participation in key decision processes leads to gender-differentiated benefits in development programs. The specific objectives were to assess:
- The extent to which local-level MDF use is informed by community needs
- The specific needs of women in mining communities
- The extent to which royalty expenditure meets the identified needs of women
- The extent to which women’s participation in key development planning and decision making ensures that their needs are met
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