EIFPE was founded in January 2019 by an amazing group of volunteers Emmanuel Neba Fuh, Farzana Alam, Ngefor Awundaga, Steve Wright, Nangah Atchala, Boniface Awundaga, Eric Tanifum and Paul Monie. Initially born out of Emmanuel’s persistent disturbing preoccupation with a 2018 Washington Post article “A new ‘resource curse’ is fueling riots around the world”, our studious inquiry reviewed the situation was worse than reported.
Our research found that, though a country’s natural resources belong to its citizens, too often they are excluded from the resource funds.
Despite the direct correlation between rising international commodity prices and increased pollution and health problems in communities around major mines, there is very limited increase in governmental services to these communities, considering that the many Government agents have collected huge revenues from extractive industries.
Corruption and weak local governance means that extractive communities suffer the most, yet receive few tangible benefits. Not surprisingly, the combination of a dramatic increase in environmental contamination and little improvement to the provision of public goods tend to provoke resentment, anger, protests and riots from local communities. This phenomenon takes place across Latin America, Africa and South Asia. As a matter of fact, nearly three-quarters of countries in these regions have experienced riots or protests related to natural resource extraction in recent years, with more than two thousand active social conflicts related to natural resource extraction worldwide.
The costs of local mining conflicts are high on all sides. Protesters and security forces risk injury or death during clashes. For large mining firms, a social conflict can generate an upward of $20 million in weekly production losses. More broadly, ongoing conflict and negative media coverage can deter investment and lower productivity, creating ripple effects through the entire local economy. There is also the risk of lost national and local tax revenues if mines or local businesses shut down. Some of these conflicts fuelled by the desire to control valuable oil and natural gas assets have led to poverty stricken communities becoming ideal havens for dangerous extremist and terrorist groups – with men, women and children condemned to a life of misery as refugees. It was based on these findings that EIFPE was established with a pledge to relieve suffering arising as a result of the ‘local resource curse’ worldwide.