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The recently-elected parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the new government, should make wide-ranging changes to how mineral, oil and forest resources are managed, said Global Witness in a new briefing published today.
The briefing, Agenda for Reform 2012, highlights concerns over how Congo’s mining, hydrocarbons and logging sectors are managed and provides recommendations that would help ensure the resources are used for the benefit of the people, rather than being lost to corruption or mismanagement.
“Congo’s political leaders have enormous resources at their disposal that could improve the country’s living standards in a way that preserves the environment for future generations,” said Gavin Hayman, Global Witness Campaigns Director. “The constitutional right of Congolese to fairly benefit from this natural wealth should be the priority for the returning President, Joseph Kabila, his government and the country’s parliamentarians.”
Agenda for Reform 2012 puts forward three key areas for reform for Congo’s legislators:
Transparency in the mining and hydrocarbons sector
The previous Congolese government secretly sold off lucrative mining assets to opaque offshore-registered companies. Some assets were sold for far less than most reported commercial estimates of their value. Global Witness believes that there should be much fuller disclosure of all the details relating to these sales and impartial investigations should be launched into any suspected cases of corruption. The new government should introduce legislation that would ensure competitive and transparent bidding for mining and oil assets, and guarantee the publication of all revenues generated from these sectors.
Establishing a minerals trade free from conflict in the eastern Kivu provinces
Armed groups and criminal networks within the Congolese army are financing themselves through illegal control of mines and trading routes in parts of eastern Congo. The Congolese authorities should ensure that recent domestic legislation making supply chain due diligence obligatory is fully implemented by all those involved in the minerals trade. In addition, the government should fulfil its commitment to remove the army from mine sites and prosecute those who are involved in mineral smuggling.
Maintaining the current freeze on giving out new large-scale logging rights
The freeze on giving out new large-scale logging rights should remain in place until steps are taken by Congo’s authorities to identify how land is used by local communities who rely on the forests for their livelihoods.
“Over the past five years Congo’s natural resources sector has been beset by opaque deals covering several billion dollars’ worth of mining assets, minerals traded in connection with armed groups, and unsupervised logging throughout the world’s second biggest rainforest,” said Hayman. “As the country’s new parliamentarians and government officials take up their roles, they should make it a priority to change the way business is done.”
Daniel Balint-Kurti, in Kinshasa +243 81 977 3158
Lizzie Parsons, in London +44 207 492 5865
Agenda for Reform in the Natural Resources Sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo is available here.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the least developed country in the world, according to the United Nations, with one in five children dying before their fifth birthday.
For more Global Witness information regarding natural resource management in Congo please see:
- Rigged? The scramble for Africa’s oil, gas and minerals, report, January 2012
- Why the EITI rules need to cover licensing: the case of the DRC, briefing paper, December 2011, including information about the sale of mining assets by Congolese state-owned companies
- We are people already sold, a film showing the impact of industrial logging on Congolese communities, 27 September 2011
- Annual transparency report for the DRC’s forest sector
- Congo's mineral trade in the balance: opportunities and obstacles to demilitarisation, report, May 2011
- Congo government requires domestic minerals sector to source responsibly, press release, October 2011
- UN report calls for action to clean up Congo’s minerals trade and end impunity, press release, December 2011