Ben Radley

Lecturer in International Development

Struggles Over Value: Corporate-State Suppression of Locally Led Mining Mechanisation in DR Congo (2021) Review of African Political Economy

"In theory, locally managed artisanal mining mechanisation should increase the level of value retained in the Congolese economy. In practice, as we will show, such upgrading is held back by a political coalition between the state and corporate mining capital"

Les effets socio-économiques de l'extraction de l'or au Sud-Kivu : Le cas de Banro  (2020) Maison des Mines du Kivu

"Based on the findings, the policy wisdom of overlooking the potential of artisanal mining based on assumptions about its low productivity, inefficiency and links to conflict financing is challenged"

A Distributional Analysis of Artisanal and Industrial Wage Levels and Expenditure in the Congolese Mining Sector  (2020) The Journal of Development Studies

"The case study evidence...suggests that failure to address Lewis’ structural wage constraint will result in the continuation of low and stagnant wages to the majority of export sector workers in the African periphery, irrespective of productivity growth in these sectors"

Sustainable Minerals and Metals for a Low-Carbon Future  (2020) Science

"We identify key sustainability challenges with practices used in industries that will supply the metals and minerals — including cobalt, copper, lithium, cadmium, and rare earth elements — needed for low-carbon technologies"

The End of the African Mining Enclave? Domestic Marginalisation and Labour Fragmentation in the DRC  (2019) Development and Change

"The general picture seems to confirm rather than invalidate Prebisch and Singer's original enclave thesis, whereby resource extraction in the periphery has few domestic linkages and is generally disarticulated from local and national economies"

"The mechanization of artisanal gold mining presents an opportunity to increase the productivity of an activity that seems to be more legitimate and more anchored in the local economy than enclaved industrial exploitation under foreign ownership"

A Miner’s Canary in Eastern Congo: Formalisation of Artisanal 3T Mining and Precarious Livelihoods in South Kivu  (2018) The Extractive Industries and Society

"Questioning certain industry and advocacy  claims, we argue that the incompatibility of artisanal mining with corporate-regulatory structures prevents a purely positive impact of traceability and certification on local production and trade"

Digging Their Way out of Trouble?  (2017) Africa in Fact

"Artisanal minining [is] a livelihood strategy for tens of thousands of rural Congolese families who have seen their on-farm subsistence capacity and off-farm employment opportunities dwindle"

Film Review, Elephant's Dream (2017) African Studies Review

"Elephant’s Dream  offers an all-too-easy ahistorical and apolitical snapshot of the Congolese state that is as misleading and myopic as its human portraits are masterful and compelling"

The Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Possibilities for Harnessing Mining to Reinstitute Processes of State-led Local Development in the DRC (2016) L’Afrique des Grands Lacs

"Transfer pricing was raised by interviewees as the most serious issue, through which transnational mining corporations avoid paying taxes in the DRC and syphon profits overseas, to the net loss of Congolese state revenue"

Guest Editorial: Rethinking Democracy (2015) Development

"Despite the general claims of triumph and success by its proponents and defenders, the universality and normativity of democracy is currently under scrutiny"

Fighting Windmills in Eastern Congo: The Ambiguous Impact of the 'Conflict Minerals' Movement (2015) The Extractive Industries and Society

"The 'conflict minerals' approach is at a critical juncture, caught between the need to deliver a reliable and viable response and the reality of delivering new modes of disarticulation and dispossession"

In the Face of Reform: What Future for Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Eastern DRC? (2014) Futures

"There is a range of new initiatives to regulate and formalise the artisanal mining sector, but early evidence shows that they have failed to have a positive impact"

The Lived Experience of Human and Labour Rights Violations in Select Artisanal Mine Sites in North and South Kivu of the Eastern DRC (2014) Arizona University

"The mining sites appear intricately designed to survey, control, discipline, punish and extort from workers, with the overall objective of maintaining the status-quo by suppressing worker organisation and resistance"


Mining Industrialisation in the African Periphery: Disruption and Dependency in South Kivu, DRC

A political economy critique of mining industrialisation led by transnational corporations in low-income African countries, through an in-depth case study of gold mining in South Kivu Province of the DRC.


Suppression of Locally Led Capital Accumulation in the Congo (March 2021) Developing Economics

The Importance of Artisanal Mining (in French) (August 2020) Le Nouveau Congo

The Social and Economic Impact of Banro in South Kivu (in French) (August 2020) Intel Congo

Low Worker Wages and High Inequality (June 2020) Africa is a Country

The Macroeconomic Impact of Covid-19 in the Global South (May 2020) LSE-University of Oxford

Global Divergence in a Post-Covid-19 World (April 2020) Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath

Gold from Eastern DR Congo: A Chat with Ben Radley (December 2019) Back to the Source

Mining in Congo (in Norwegian) (October 2019) Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

The End of the African Mining Enclave? (September 2019) The ISS Blog

Problems with Transnational Corporations in the DRC's Mining Sector (September 2018) The ISS Blog

Bringing Back the Beautiful: Congolese Activists Clean up Kinshasa (April 2017) EcoHustler

Rethinking the Failures of Mining Industrialisation in the African Periphery (May 2019) Developing Economics

Why Mining Execs Don’t Care if Congo Hikes Up its Profit Tax (March 2018) African Arguments

DR Congo: Legal Capital Flight, an Impediment to Industrialisation (in French) (March 2017) Jeune Afrique

Challenging Industry Claims on Local Wages (May 2019) Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath

Gold Mining in the DRC, from the Ore to the Bar (September 2017) Deutsche Welle

The Problem with Western Activists Trying to do Good in Africa (April 2016) The Conversation

Corporate Suppression of Artisanal Mining in the Congo (Feb 2019) Review of African Political Economy

The DRC is Revisiting its Mining Code: Why Reform is Long Overdue (June 2017) The Conversation

Western Advocacy Groups and (Class) Conflict in the Congo (Feb 2016) Review of African Political Economy

Who Really Benefits from Celebrity Activism? (July 2015) The Guardian

Time to Join the Village Against the World? (April 2014) EcoHustler

In Eastern Congo, Economic Colonialism in the Guise of Ethical Consumption? (Sept 2014) The Washington Post 

Foreign Direct Investment, Mining and Development in the DRC (Feb 2014) Resolution Possible

'Conflict Minerals' - An Open Letter (Sept 2014) Suluhu

Unexpected Truth from the Congo (Nov 2013) EcoHustler

Conflict Minerals Movement at a Crossroads (Sept 2014) Al Jazeera


Looking for Peace in the Wrong Place (Oct 2013) Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa



Between 2013 and 2015, I co-wrote and co-produced the award-winning feature-length documentary We Will Win Peace, with filmmaker Seth Chase. The film investigates the impact of the global 'conflict minerals' campaign on its intended Congolese beneficiaries. Released in 2016, the film has screened at festivals and universities across Africa, Europe and North America, and sold in over 30 countries worldwide.


In 2018, photographer Robert Carrubba and I ran a photo exhibition at the Bilembo Culutral Centre in Kinshasa, DRC. The exhibition documents the artisanal labour and production process associated with gold in the eastern Congo, from its extraction in a rural mine in South Kivu Province, through processing, trade and its final transformation into gold bars and jewellery in the city of Bukavu. We hope to continue to run the exhibition throughout 2019.


I'm a political economist and Lecturer in International Development the University of Bath. My research centres on the role, influence and developmental impact of Northern transnational corporations operating in the extractive and renewable energy industries, with a regional focus on Central Africa. I'm currently working on a project investigating the intersection between renewable energy expansion in Burundi, Rwanda and the DR Congo and local, national and regional processes of economic development. I'm also working to complete the book manuscript 'Disrupted Development in the Congo: The Fragile Foundations of the African Mining Consensus', earmarked for publication with Oxford University Press in 2023. I've been involved in international development for 15 years, including ten years living and working in Kenya, Burundi and the DRC. During this time, I've worked with and advised various ministries, multilateral agencies and NGOs, including the EU, the OECD, the ILO, DFID, GIZ, USAID and Oxfam.

Author copies of all my publications are available through this website.



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