The IRON List - September 29, 2017

1. Industry: A Golden Opportunity

The Fairtrade Foundation is now promoting a $2 million USD gold mining campaign in East Africa, providing loans so small mining sites can earn fairtrade certification. This will impact countries like Uganda and Tanzania, with exported goods and services valued at 20.5 to 22.9 percent of their GDP. Investment in the gold market during 2017, according to the World Gold Council, “is likely to remain firm”, as “gold-backed ETFs increased their collective holdings by 536 tonnes (US$21.7 billion), the highest since 2009.” Read more below on the history of gold in Africa, and what fairtrade would mean for the communities involved.

“These first pioneering grains of gold I am showing you today symbolise so much. They represent safer working conditions, hope, and better lives for miners who struggle to put food on their table each day.” --Co-operative News, “Fairtrade announces the first shipment of African Fairtrade gold from Uganda.”

“Tanzania is the fourth largest gold producer in Africa with exports of more than $1.6bn in 2014.”--BBC, “Tanzanian gold mine enters into fairtrade deal with UK.”

“The rich seam of gold running along the shores of Lake Victoria hasn’t created millionaires but hardship and division: more than 50,000 unlicensed, small-scale gold-miners produce about 2.8 tons of gold per year, yet each miner earns as little as 50p a day.” --iNews, “How Fairtrade is setting a new gold standard for the African mining industry.”

“[T]oday’s launch continues our work with small-scale miners to improve their lives by offering them fair prices in return for responsible supply of ethically mined gold.” --Professional Jeweller, “First fairtrade gold from Africa arrives in the UK.”

“Skeptics have claimed it would be impossible to document the sources of small-scale gold, since the trade is so opaque...But the 238-gram gold export from Congo to Toronto has proven it can be done – even though it required the payment of 26 separate taxes and fees along the way (15 percent of the gold's $8,450 value)” --The Globe and Mail, “Pioneering Canadian system ensures conflict-free gold.”

2. Research: Fair, but Not Profitable?

How has the fairtrade movement helped or harmed Africa? Galvin Hilson argues in Development and Change that while it increased transparency in supply chain management, it does not translate into more money in the pockets of small-scale, African business owners. Fred Yamoah presents a possible solution to Hilson’s identified problem - sharing more buyer behavior data with “global South” (read “African”) businesses in the fairtrade market.

3. Opportunities: Paid, Volunteer and Competitive

Internships at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Fellowship program with Echoing Green

Green Ambassadors program with The Green Campus Initiative

Foundational English Literacy and Numeracy Teaching Advisors at VSO

4. Networking: Afrobeat Gala D.C. and BCG Women’s Leadership Summit

Attend the Afrobeat Gala D.C. on Sunday, Oct 8, 2017 and get a chance to dance, eat, and show off your best African attire. Karfi will be making an appearance! RSVP here.


Apply to attend the Women’s Leadership Summit hosted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) November 30 - December 1, 2017. Events include featured TED talks live at the TED theater, advice on consulting careers and, of course, networking. Read an overview here.