USAID Will Continue and Expand Innovative Artisanal Mining Project

Artisanal mining – a livelihood for an estimated 20 million people around the world – has historically not been an area where USAID and other donors have invested substantial resources. While a wide range of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) practices occur throughout the world, the exploration, extraction and trade of diamonds have become increasingly viewed as controversial due to purported links with rebel movements, environmental destruction, and child labor.

USAID’s Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD) project in the Central African Republic, although coming to a conclusion under the Property Rights and Resource Governance (PRRG) Task Order after more than five years of implementation, has changed this perception in many ways. The PRADD program began as a pilot in 2007 in the Central African Republic pioneering a property rights approach to better monitoring of the artisanal diamond mining sector and improving livelihoods in ASM communities. The results from this approach and the overall impacts of the project have been altogether positive as illustrated in the final quarterly report now available.

Over the past three years, legal diamond production in PRADD’s longstanding areas of intervention has increased 450% compared to 21% for the rest of the country. During the same time frame, more than 650 mining sites have been rehabilitated and converted to other economic uses resulting in increased incomes and food security. Although the current project is coming to an end, many of the innovative and integrative approaches utilized under PRADD will be continued and expanded under an upcoming successor program creatively titled PRADD II.