n Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor - Mineral exploitation : a Congolese experiment - : Central Africa - issue in focus

Volume 2013, Issue 04
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It is a world-wide phenomenon that the exploitation of mineral wealth may turn out to be a curse instead of a blessing to the population where resources are found. Often criminal syndicates, in collaboration with political rebel groups, try to take control of the wealth, to the exclusion of others. Various attempts have been made to address this issue, including the Kimberly process designed to authenticate the provenance of diamonds, the diamond industry itself, and relevant NGOs such as the KP Civil Society Coalition.

The resource curse is nowhere more obvious than in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where it has become a source for regional instability. In DRC, it has also involved, for example, an armed mutiny in the eastern Kivu provinces which led to the capture by rebels of the regional capital, Goma, allegedly with the help of neighbouring countries; rigged elections in late 2011; and thus, ongoing challenges over the legitimacy of the government.
A regional process to resolve the resource curse in the strife-torn DRC was initiated in October 2012, and this culminated in the signing of a Framework Agreement by 15 countries of the Central African region on 24 February 2013. Specific mention is made of the economic aspects of the problem. The United States (US) State Department issued a press statement the day after the agreement was signed, that made specific mention of the economic prosperity of the DRC and the region.
If the countries of the region, and the DRC in particular, could demonstrate the political will, moral integrity and vision, economic and political structures could be put in place that would see the people of these troubled regions the beneficiaries, instead of the victims, of their wealth.

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