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  (2020) Maison des Mines du Kivu

« Sur base des résultats, la volonté politique de négliger l'exploitation minière artisanale sur base d'hypothèses concernant sa faible productivité, son inefficacité et ses liens avec le financement des conflits est contestée »

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"

« La mécanisation de la production artisanale en RD Congo permet d’augmenter la productivité d’une activité qui parait plus ancrée dans l’économie locale et plus légitime aux yeux de la population locale »

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"

The Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Possibilities for 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

"As we explore in this journal issue, rethinking democracy implies a critical attitude of going beyond claims of universality and normativity of democracy as a given concept and set of practices"

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.


An Interview with Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja (April 2021) Review of African Political Economy

2009 368.jpg

How Large Miners Stifle Local Innovation in the Congo (April 2021) The Conversation


La valeur de la filière minière artisanale (Aout 2020) Le Nouveau Congo


Banro au Sud-Kivu : bilan de son impact sur le plan social et économique (Aout 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

Bukavu, DRC

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

La fuite légale des capitaux, un frein à l’industrialisation de la RD Congo (Mars 2017) Jeune Afrique


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

Bukavu, DRC

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

Bukavu, DRC

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

Bukavu, DRC

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 

Mining in the DRC

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

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

Artisanal miners in the DRC

Unexpected Truth from the Congo (Nov 2013) EcoHustler

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


Artisanal miners in the DRC

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


The Class Contradictions of Scholar Activism (October 2021) Africa is a Country



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 and 2019, photographer Robert Carrubba and I ran a photo exhibition at various locations in the DR Congo and Europe. The exhibition documented 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.



I'm a political economist and Lecturer in International Development the University of Bath. My research centres on how the global renewable energy transition interacts with and influences development trajectories in Africa, with a particular focus on Central Africa. You can find more details about my work and current projects here. I'm also finalising a book manuscript - Disrupted Development in the Congo: The Fragile Foundations of the African Mining Consensus - due 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.