Make min­ing work for the peo­ple”

Jean Pierre Ok­enda DRC coun­try man­ager, Nat­u­ral Re­source Gov­er­nance In­sti­tute

The Africa Report - - FRONTLINE -

“1. Bring back long-term plan­ning The DRC needs to recog­nise that trans­form­ing its un­der­ground riches into real so­ci­etal progress takes many years. The re­cent re­forms in the sec­tor re­veal a lack of long-term vi­sion: why bother do­ing gov­er­nance re­forms on one hand, while al­low­ing of­fi­cials to take stakes in min­ing com­pa­nies on the other?

2. Create value at home The DRC needs to use in­cen­tives to create lo­cal pro­cess­ing of min­er­als. The eco­nomic struc­ture of the in­dus­try re­mains that of the colo­nial era. The 2015 EITI re­port [shows] the con­tri­bu­tion of the sec­tor to ex­ports was 97.5%, but it only con­trib­uted 20% to GDP. The DRC needs to flip that dy­namic to har­ness min­ing to gen­uine struc­tural trans­for­ma­tion.

3. In­ject good gov­er­nance at ev­ery step Too of­ten re­source riches are squan­dered by im­ple­men­ta­tion fail­ure. How do we make of­fi­cials ac­count­able? How do we link this over­sight to civil so­ci­ety? The stakes are huge: since 2015 we are the lead­ing pro­duc­ers of base be­tals in Africa. But be­tween 2010 and 2012, the coun­try lost nearly $1bn in trans­ac­tions im­pli­cat­ing state com­pany Gé­camines.

4. At­tract se­ri­ous in­vestors To add value to the im­mense min­ing re­sources of the DRC re­quires cap­i­tal we don’t have. In our un­cer­tain po­lit­i­cal con­text, bring­ing in cap­i­tal can be per­ilous. That bumps up the premium in­vestors place on the re­turns they ex­pect and at­tracts buc­ca­neers. Only when we de­liver pro­found po­lit­i­cal re­form and create a trusted le­gal frame­work will be able to at­tract a bet­ter class of in­vestor.

5. Beef up re­source map­ping To get those se­ri­ous in­vestors into the sec­tor, we need to get re­li­able and com­pre­hen­sive ge­o­log­i­cal data. Not only does that help us at­tract cap­i­tal, but sun­light is also the best dis­in­fec­tant.”

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