Community development funds drawing from resource revenues are increasingly used to address issues of revenue distribution and local development in resource production regions. Comparing two West African mining revenue distribution policies, Ghana’s Mineral Development Fund and Sierra Leone’s Diamond Area Community Development Fund, this chapter shows how local elite capture coupled with limited transparency and accountability, led to fund misuse and embezzlement. Though such funds are usually established with good intentions, their ability to uplift mining communities through improved incomes, social services and infrastructure tend to be undermined by local power dynamics. This chapter suggests that institutional reforms need to recognise the vulnerability of community-based natural resource management programmes to capture by local elites, which requires such schemes to be informed in the first place by a nuanced analysis of local power relations within and around communities.
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