The consequences of the mining in the developing world are significant and diverse. These consequences span the political to economic, which of course may have dire social consequences as well. Of course, well managed, the discovery and exploitation of a natural resource need not be negative. This phenomena is well noted in academia however it has only recently started to gain traction in the “real world.”
The government of Eritrea however has noted this effect and considered how it new found mineral wealth could be put to good use without putting the remainder of the economy at risk. Some of what must be considered I have already discussed here, however the benefits of such an exercise must be discussed.
A main criticism related to the resource curse is the fact that a dependence on a particular export is formed. This focus on export led development is called called export-orientation. Although the export oriented markets of the East have developed using this method, they have done what the European economies have done to maintain their level of growth: moving up the export-ladder. To do this a focus on education is required, to dream and build the technologies of the future. An emphasis on education will be key to this and discuss Eritrea’s moves towards this here.
Natural resources can help promote development but its export cannot be an end unto itself. Mining in Eritrea will have to follow a new model to develop intelligently by learning from the mistakes of the past.