View Full Version : CNN Acknowledges WACAM Boss

19th January 2012, 06:43 PM
CNN International, the world’s renowned cable news channel, has profiled Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, founder of mining advocacy group WACAM, describing him as “a voice for Ghana’s poor.”

He was featured on CNN’s primetime programme African Voices which looks into the contributions of individuals and groups, promotion of human rights and other developments on the African continent.

The programme focused on Mr. Owusu-Koranteng’s life and how he has been using WACAM over the years to sustain the crusade against irresponsible mining in Ghana.

The programme acknowledged him as using WACAM to offer education; training and legal support to people affected by large and small scale mining in Ghana, ranked as Africa’s second largest producer of gold after South Africa. CNN acknowledged that gold mining might have become a booming industry in resource-rich Ghana, raking in billions of dollars every year, but that wealth has failed to trickle down to many of the country’s rural poor who live on the land where the gold is mined.

During the programme, Mr. Owusu-Koranteng noted that “mining goes with a lot of myths, like it creates jobs, it brings development, it makes people’s lives better. That is the first deception: that you are sitting on gold and somebody is going to mine it. You cannot imagine for once the person can take the gold away and leave you in a bad state.”

“It’s a bad case because they are farmers and they’re dependent on the farm lands for survival, so many of them are without regular source of income now,” he said.

“We also have a situation whereby our lands are taken over by mining,” Mr. Owusu-Koranteng explained, adding “they (the farmers) lost their jobs, their lands were gone, the river is polluted and the skills they had could not fit into the skills of the mining.”

“When I go to the communities and they say they are hungry, I know what it is,” he said…”When people have land and it’s been taken away and they’re not going to have anything to eat, I understand it,” he added.

On WACAM he said, “We are a small group of thoughtful, committed people who want to change the world, who want to make a change, who want to make a difference. We think that once we have the truth with us, one day, this country will learn that we need to manage our resources well for generations yet to come and that we shouldn’t become a selfish generation.”

“The gold and the earth do not belong to this generation. It belongs to the generations yet to come. That is what we should understand and we cannot mess it up,” he said. Established in 1998, WACAM works to help farmers obtain better compensation packages and raise awareness about the dangers to the environment as a result of indiscriminate mining.

WACAM wants multinationals to contribute to the sustainable development of the affected communities. Ghana’s gold exports totalled $2.25 billion in 2008, up from $1.3 billion in the previous year, according to U.N.

The majority of the world’s big gold mining companies are already operating in Ghana, with the precious commodity being the country’s main foreign exchange earner, along with cocoa.