News / Africa

Congo Improves Natural-Resources Accounting

Boys take a break from panning for gold at the Marco gold mine in Mukungwe locality, Congo, May 9, 2014.
Boys take a break from panning for gold at the Marco gold mine in Mukungwe locality, Congo, May 9, 2014.
Nick Long

The Democratic Republic Congo, faulted last year for murky reporting on its earnings from natural resources, has improved its accounting enough to be awarded full membership in an international organization touting transparency.

On Wednesday, Congo – with a wealth of natural resources, including plentiful water, plus gold, copper and minerals used to manufacture cellphones – was recognized as a full member in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The coalition of 45 governments plus companies and civil-society groups exposes tax evasion and lost revenues involving natural resources.

Jonas Moberg, head of the initiative’s secretariat, praised Congo’s “extraordinary level of engagement” in the EITI process. Though the Congo’s natural-resources management could be improved, he said, the process ensures well-informed debate.

Congo was suspended from the EITI last year for insufficient reporting. In particular, the board wanted independent audits of mining companies and tax agencies, plus monitoring of revenue and spending from a $6.3 billion venture between Congo's state mining company and a Chinese consortium.

Bady Balde, manager for central Africa at the EITI secretariat in Norway, told VOA that Congo’s latest report, for 2011, shows much more detail than in the previous year.

"So for 2011, what you see is about $1.4 billion paid to the government at various levels,” Balde said. “There is detailed accounting for this, who has collected the revenues from whom and where they sent the money to. Learning the lessons from the 2010 report, there is now very thorough work that has been done."

The London-based group Global Witness, which campaigns for more transparency and accountability in natural resource management, agreed the DRC has made progress.

"Global Witness thinks there have been great strides forward with EITI in Congo,” said Nathaniel Dyer, a researcher for the group.  “EITI has put a lot of new information in the public realm. Saying that, we still have some pretty major concerns about the governance of Congo’s mineral and oil wealth.

“Transparency doesn’t necessarily lead to accountability or to the lack of bad practices."

Dyer pointed to state mining company Gecamines’ sale of five of Congo’s biggest mining concessions in recent years.  Another watchdog group, the Africa Progress Panel, said those assets were undervalued, resulting in lost potential revenue of at least $1.35 billion for the Congolese state and people.

"Gecamines has been at the heart of those transactions,” Dyer said. The company doesn’t provide annual reports, he said, saying it’s “acting like a black hole in the middle of Congo’s mining sector."

Balde said EITI so far has concentrated on tracing companies’ actual rather than potential spending, earnings and profit. Going forward, he said, EITI will look at ownership issues, especially when concessions are sold.  

He added that EITI also will investigate revenue collection from small-scale mining in Eastern Congo.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid