Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Extraction from chaos?

Extraction from chaos?

By Michael Deibert

Foreign Direct Investment

April 10, 2008

Embattled by war and corruption but laden with large deposits of diamonds and copper, DR Congo is largely avoided by investors. Might that change? Michael Deibert reports.

Blessed with natural resources and occupying a vast swath of central Africa as large as the US east of the Mississippi River, the Democratic Republic of Congo is home to some of the word’s largest deposits of diamonds, copper, cobalt and coltan. Despite a fecund climate encompassing everything from dense, nearly impenetrable rainforests to fertile plains, the country has remained one of Africa’s most tragic. Held in the grip of a predatory state culture of corruption and the often nefarious designs of its neighbours and unscrupulous business dealers with little long-term interest in developing its infrastructure, DR Congo has struggled to attract investors.

The country’s president, Joseph Kabila, first assumed office in 2001 following the assassination of his father, Laurent, who led a rebel movement that toppled the 32-year dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko.

Elected for the first time during a violent ballot in 2006, President Kabila is an often mute presence on the Congolese political scene, going for weeks at a time without appearing in public. Nevertheless, the government has begun to take small steps to regularise the often anarchic foreign investment climate in the country, and in February completed a review of all international mining contracts, many of which were signed by President Kabila’s father under circumstances of questionable transparency during DR Congo’s 1998-2002 civil war.

Read the full article here.

No comments: