Improving the Social and Economic Welfare: The Challenges of Artisanal Mining Operators in the Haut-Katanga Province of the DRC
Based on entrepreneurship and innovation theories, this study explored strategies to resolve artisanal miners’ social and economic challenges in the Haut-Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (D. R. C) by implementing positive social change in local communities. This study also provided an overview of the state of artisanal mining activities in the Haut Katanga province and discussed the potential job creation and sources of income that artisanal mining operators can find. The artisanal mining industry is a significant source of employment and income for the local population and the D. R. C government. The DRC government established a new mining code promulgated to protect and sustain mining activities in March 2018. Moreover, the DRC government created a technical service called Service d’ Assistance et d’ Encadrement du Secteur Artisanal et a Petite Echelle (SAEMAPE) to monitor and train artisanal mining operators. Despite this innovation, the effectiveness of supervision and training of artisanal and small-scale mining remains timid. However, artisanal miners also experience several challenges in improving their social and economic lives. Government and mining leaders must implement effective strategies to overcome social and economic challenges and promote positive social change for artisanal miners. Data for this study were collected using interview questions from 8 top government and mining leaders who implemented effective strategies to increase social and economic conditions in the Haut-Katanga province. The founding of this study revealed that artisanal mining officials or business leaders in the Haut-Katanga province of the DRC should (a) improve educational programs and working conditions, (b) regulate wages or salary based on risks, and (c) facilitate access to financial services or advisers for artisanal miners. These strategies would help to reduce poverty, health problems, and environmental degradation. The article concluded by discussing the need to improve artisanal mining practices and sustain positive social change in the local communities. The findings from this research may also be used to identify potential solutions to improve the social and economic welfare of artisanal mining employees in other provinces or regions of the DRC.
Keywords: Social and economic challenges, Artisanal miners, Positive social change.