Editor’s Note: December 06, 2018
Congo needs to put its money where its mouth is
Mining revenues collected by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) jumped by 147.4% in the first nine months of 2018 to $1.21bn according to the latest government data. This comes on the back of a contentious new mining code, signed into law in June, almost tripling royalties on minerals like copper and cobalt.
This has pushed relations between the government and miners – including giants like Glencore – to breaking point, with the latter fiercely opposing the hike on the grounds that it will stifle investment.
The government dismisses this and insists the increase is an overdue re-balancing of commercial terms. Last week state-owned miner Gécamines launched an extraordinary attack on the industry, blaming mining companies for $4.9bn in lost revenue between 2005 – 2016 and, by extension, the country’s failure to translate its vast mineral wealth into meaningful development.
Authorities will soon have the opportunity to match words with action. The 147.4% revenue spike is the proverbial tip of the iceberg. DRC’s natural resources are estimated to be worth $24tr, with minerals like cobalt among the most sought after globally.
As state coffers fill up the country’s citizens will be waiting anxiously to see how the money is used to drive development.
So will the rest of the world.
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