The section 21 companies and other structures financially dependent on mining companies for their existence are at the centre of conflicts within the affected communities.#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1" title=""> The paternalistic relationships of these entities with mining companies compromise their standing within the communities; hence the persistent calls for them to be disbanded (Action Aid 2008).
It is projected that if the economy does not improve within the next two years, more than half a million mineworkers in the region will lose their jobs. It is estimated that more than 25% of mineworkers are HIV positive. Only two countries reviewed in the study have sufficient reserves to deal with a long-term recession.
Africa is extremely rich in natural resources. For hundreds of years, there was trade in gold between modern-day Ghana and North Africa, and even further afield. Africa’s wealth, including humans and nature, attracted the attention of a globally expanding Europe, which intruded into the continent to enslave people for the sake of sugar and cotton plantations in the Americas, and finally sealed its control with the scramble for Africa in the 1880s.