The signing of the CDA, which took place last Friday, 27th January 2017, at the Command Centre in Kono district was witnessed by traditional authorities, local council representatives, NMA and UNDP, and other stakeholders in the district. The CDA between mining companies and host communities is a requirement of the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009, and is designed to ensure that mining companies assist in the development of mining communities affected by their operations to promote sustainable development, and enhance the general welfare and the quality of life of the inhabitants.
According to the terms of the agreement signed by the two parties, Koidu Limited will provide an annual social contribution of 0.25 percent of the aggregate ex-mine price of the diamonds sold in the previous year, which shall be managed and disbursed for the benefit of the Kono Community by a dedicated committee. The agreement outlines the obligations of both parties, the consultative and monitoring frameworks, and the means by which the community may participate in the planning, implementation, management and monitoring of activities undertaken.
The UNDP National Project Manager in Kono, Sheku Tamba Davowa, thanked government for this developmental initiative and expressed satisfaction with the procedures taken to have the CDA implemented in Kono. He explained that the UNDP supported the project with funds from the Sustainable Development Goal Fund (SDG-F) secretariat, as part of the “Enabling Sustainable Livelihoods through Improved Natural Resource Governance and Economic Diversification in the Kono District”, project. The project is implemented within the framework of a UN multi-agency Area-Based Development (ABD) approach that focuses on two broad interlinked intervention areas aiming to enhance sustainable, inclusive governance of natural resources and diversification of sustainable livelihood opportunities in one of the most mineral-rich, but least developed areas in the country. It is designed with a strong focus on achieving tangible results by building on and complementing previous or ongoing activities of UNDP, FAO, and other partners, and its outcomes include: Inclusiveness, accountability and transparency in natural resources management; and Livelihoods of vulnerable groups improved through economic diversification. The Community Development Agreement (CDA) component is to enhance inclusive community development processes for stakeholders in the extractive sector in Kono, he concluded.
The Director of Community Affairs at the NMA, Ibrahim Satti Kamara, lauded the commitment demonstrated by the stakeholders to the process, and noted that the CDA, if effectively implemented will promote sustainable development benefits for the people of Kono, as well as improve relations between the company and the community. It is a unique opportunity for local development to occur in mining areas, which although home to vast mineral deposits have paradoxically experienced high levels of poverty and low levels of development in the past, he maintained. He assured stakeholders that the NMA, which has a responsibility to promote the rights of communities, will continue to work to ensure that Sierra Leoneans derive maximum benefits from their mineral resources.
Expressing his delight over the signing of the CDA, Paramount Chief Paul Ngaba Saquee of Tankoro Chiefdom thanked Government, the NMA and UNDP for facilitating the CDA process, which he noted will not only ensure that mining companies contribute to local development, but will also address issues of transparency and accountability in how this contribution is channeled to local communities. He noted that this will end the speculations and suspicion that has surrounded the relationship between the company and the community, which has been characterized by accusations and counter-accusations.
The Chairman of the Community Development Committee, Dr. Alpha Kpetewama, noted that the CDA arrangement will go a long way to address community issues in a well-structured manner, and thanked Government for providing such a mechanism that gives communities the opportunity to be deeply involved in addressing community issues. He thanked the NMA and UNDP for facilitating the process and called on them to continue to build the capacity of communities to enable them participate well in the CDA process. He assured all stakeholders that the Community Development Committee will work tirelessly to achieve tangible development outputs to benefit the entire community.