Follow the Money (and the Minerals)

From Enough blogs Fri Nov 30 2012, 15:25:16

Editor's Note: This piece first appeared as part of New York Times' "Room for Debate." Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast and others-including writer Eve Ensler, consultant and analyst Willet Weeks, Kambale Musavuli of Friends of the Congo, Yaa-Lengi Ngemi of the Congo Coalition, and Séverine Autesserre of Columbia University-address the complex question: How to stabilize Congo?

There will be no peace in Congo as long as ruthless interests can make immense profits from the extraction of minerals and other resources, with the connivance of regional governments. Corrupt Congolese officials have no interest in justice or army reform because they reap windfalls from mafia-like smuggling and land grabbing. It will take an effort to change market incentives similar to the one that ended the blood diamonds wars elsewhere in Africa.

Congolese officials don't invest in justice or army reform because they reap windfalls from mafia-like smuggling and land grabbing.

Rwanda's post-genocide economic miracle has benefited from huge exports of smuggled Congolese tin and tantalum. Influential Ugandans enrich themselves through major illicit Congolese gold exports. This ensures that eastern Congo remains at the mercy of armed groups and their criminal business partners allied with Kinshasa, Kigali or Kampala. As with all mafias, sometimes these competing groups fight, sometimes they cooperate.

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