The extractives industry is a major sector in the economies of West Africa. It makes a significant contribution to GDP and constitutes a large portion of exports. However, the sector’s impact on the livelihoods of citizens has not been as positive. On the contrary, some argue that the industry has worsened the state of things in many nations, weakening effective governance by engendering corruption.

This issue of West Africa Trends explores trends in sustainable development and the extractives industry. The first article surveys emerging trends, the second article examines trends in local content, and the third article is a case study of the community-level impact of the mining sector in Sierra Leone.

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