074_Global12_InFocus_DRC_V8

Global issue 12

In FocusThe Democratic Republic of Congo Credit: © Marc Hofer/European Union, 2012 Kristalina Georgieva, member of the European Commission in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response  technically – the International Conference these concessions is problematic. Certified Trading Chains – stem from the on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a po- Some of the countries that sourced min- bad publicity generated around the issue of litical forum involved in conflict manage- erals from the region before the war carried conflict minerals. If the USA appears as the ment. Set up in 2000, the ICGLR is tasked on during hostilities – the boom in coltan pioneer of this initiative, Germany is play- with promoting peace and security and is happened in 2000. Belgian and British ing a discreet but active role by support- now in charge of sorting out the new crisis. companies have played a key role as trad- ing a traceability project in eastern Congo Western countries are providing humani- and the ICGLR natural resources regula- tarian assistance for 2.2 million displaced Western powers now tory project. Despite the fact that the Kivus persons and around 17,300 refugees, as well remain a high-risk area, the scramble for as supplying most of the country’s develop- play a safety net policy in natural resources carries on there. In 2010, ment aid (52 percent of the government’s eastern Congo: unable concessions in North Kivu were allocated budget stems from aid). Much of this aid is to Western companies for prospection, and dedicated to the east through programmes or unwilling to resolve this is just the beginning. such as the International Security and Sta- The continuing crisis in Congo does not bilization Support Strategy: implemented the root cause of the confirm that the West is losing ground in by the UN, it has cost about $200 million conflict, they make sure Africa. Western involvement was key to over two years (2010–12). The directing ending the war in 2003, and footing the of aid to the east is creating an imbalance that the situation does not bills has become the West’s major con- ing: “No war, no aid, no money.” deteriorate too much Congo’s development aid and humanitariantribution: it continues to provide most of- within Congo and has fuelled the local say Paradoxically, conflict and economic in- assistance. The current ‘Congo fatigue’ is vestment have never been at odds in east- ers of eastern Congo’s minerals, while more political than financial, and the West- ern Congo. It is here that most of the gold, Germany has been one of the final export ern powers thus demonstrate that, if peace coltan (used in mobile phone production) destinations. Present attempts to regulate mattered a lot in the past, now democracy and cassiterite (tin ore) deposits are found, the minerals trade in the Great Lakes – such matters far less.● and where the most important mining deals as Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act, were signed with Western companies in that specifically deals with the exploita- Thierry Vircoulon is the Central African Project time of war. Of course, as insecurity re- tion of Congo’s minerals, the establishment Director at International Crisis Group mains high, the industrial exploitation of ofcentres de négoce (trading centres) and 74 lwww.global-briefing.org fourth quarter 2012global


Global issue 12
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