News

    Huge Congo-China Mining Deal Questioned

    A huge mining deal between the Democratic Republic of Congo and China is getting extra scrutiny as critics say it does not provide enough benefits for ordinary Congolese. But the government says it is crucial to the country's development. Ricci Shryock has more from VOA's West, Central Africa Bureau in Dakar.

    The $9 billion deals call for China to loan $6 billion for infrastructure development and $3 billion for helping revamp the mining sector in exchange for access to mining interests, including cobalt and copper fields.

    Opposition leaders from the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo say the Congolese government's contract with China is not a good deal.

    The secretary-general for the opposition-party lawmaker Francois Mwamba says his party wants a mining deal with China, but it thinks the current revenue split that gives 32 percent to Congo's national mining company Gecamines and 68 percent to the China Railway Group is unacceptable. Mwamba says the government must re-negotiate with China to receive more revenue.

    After opposition leaders called for a re-negotiation, the Congolese government agreed to review the contracts after one year and make possible adjustments.

    Congo's Deputy Minister of Mines Victor Kasongo says the opposition is not looking at the whole picture. Kasongo says that figure just takes into account dividends and Congo will actually receive more than 60 percent of total money made.

    "The state of Congo will get money from taxation and royalties and so on," he said. "If you add all these things, and you see that in total it is 63 [percent] for Congo and 37 [percent] on China side."

    Kasongo adds the infrastructure and jobs that the Congolese people will get in exchange for giving China access to millions of tons of Congolese copper and hundreds of thousands of tons of cobalt is part of what he calls a second phase of development.

    "The European Union has helped the Congo," he said. "That was phase one. The second phase has to build the country. The Western world did not have all that level of money to do that, so now we got the assistance coming from the Asian country.

    Deals like these are common in developing countries says Tim Armitage, a London-based economist with Global Insight who specializes in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    "It is potentially a very promising idea, because it secures, 'A', the loans that are necessary to develop the Congolese infrastructure, and 'B', provides a method of repayment," he said. "However, the risks lie in the current government's ability to control the deal."

    Armitage says the only reason the deal would not benefit the Congolese is if the African government does not follow through with its on-the-ground tasks, such as making sure Congolese are employed in the mines and infrastructure runs smoothly.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.