Environmental Accounting in Action
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Environmental Accounting in Action

Case Studies from Southern Africa

Glenn-Marie Lange, Rashid Hassan, Kirk Hamilton and Moortaza Jiwanji

Environmental Accounting in Action studies the experiences of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, the core countries of a unique, regional environmental accounting programme in Southern Africa. Covering minerals, forestry, fisheries and water, each chapter provides important lessons about sustainable resource management. As a whole, the case studies demonstrate how to overcome the many challenges of constructing environmental accounts and the mechanics of successful implementation. By providing a transparent system of information about the relationship between human activities and the environment, the accounts have improved policy dialogue among different stakeholders and have played a significant role in environmental policy design.
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Chapter 2: Mineral Accounts: Managing an Exhaustible Resource

Glenn-Marie Lange and Rashid Hassan

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2. Mineral accounts: managing an exhaustible resource Glenn-Marie Lange and Rashid Hassan 2.1 INTRODUCTION Minerals are a principal source of income for many developing countries, including many in southern Africa. At first glance mineral-rich economies have an advantage over those less well endowed because minerals provide funds for rapid development and poverty reduction. However, as discussed in Chapter 1, resource abundance does not necessarily lead to economic prosperity for a variety of reasons grouped together under the ‘resource curse’. It is hoped that this chapter will shed some light on policies that can be taken to avoid the ‘resource curse’. Mining has played a vital role in the economic development of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia by financing growth in all sectors of the economy. Mining in all countries is dominated by large-scale commercial operations, although some small-scale artisanal mining does take place. Commercial mining in southern Africa had its origin in South Africa in the 19th century with the opening up of the Kimberley diamond mines in the 1860s followed by the Witwatersrand gold mines in the 1880s. With the discovery of gold and diamonds, the South African economy underwent rapid growth and dramatic structural change from a predominantly agricultural economy and rural population to a more urban economy centred around mining and supporting industries. The share of agriculture in employment dropped from 75 per cent to 33 per cent between 1865 and 1921. Exports grew rapidly during the same period with a steadily declining share of agricultural products...

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