Wealth and poverty in mining Africa: migration, settlement and occupational change in Tanzania during the global mineral boom, 2002–2012

Bryceson, D. F., Jønsson, J. B. and Shand, M. C. (2023) Wealth and poverty in mining Africa: migration, settlement and occupational change in Tanzania during the global mineral boom, 2002–2012. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 17(3), pp. 489-514. (doi: 10.1080/17531055.2023.2265726)

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This article interrogates place, process and people’s quest for enhanced welfare during the 2002–2012 global mineral price boom in northwest Tanzania. Mass in-migration of miners, traders and service providers generated diversified residential settlements. Processes of occupational change and urbanization, catalyzed by acquisition of employment, land, housing and other possessions at six contrasting mining locations were compared from a geo-social perspective. Our surveyed gold and diamond mining sites represented different manifestations of the mining trajectory namely: (1) artisanal rushes, (2) mature artisanal and (3) industrial mining. The article investigates who benefitted locationally and who lost in residents’ scrambles to gain improved living standards. Survey data on 216 household heads’ occupations, educational backgrounds, consumption and investments were collected, followed by construction of a household welfare index, revealing modest welfare improvements relative to rural consumption norms for the majority of interviewed resident households. However, in line with Picketty’s theoretical insights, extreme material inequality surfaced on the welfare spectrum between the outlier affluent and poor quintile groups. Those with higher educational attainment enjoyed superior welfare and occupational status, coalescing towards middle class formation. At the opposite end, single female-headed households stood out as extremely disadvantaged, handicapped by high child dependency ratios and occupational immobility.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The Urbanization and Poverty in Mining Africa Study (UPIMA) was funded by the Department of International Development (DfID) of the UK and Economic Research Council [ESRC RES-167-25-0488], with institutional support from the University of Glasgow.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shand, Mr Michael
Authors: Bryceson, D. F., Jønsson, J. B., and Shand, M. C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Eastern African Studies
Publisher:Taylor and Francis Group
ISSN (Online):1753-1063
Published Online:09 November 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Journal of Eastern African Studies 17(3):489-514
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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