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.
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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs