Sunday, February 16, 2014

DR Congo " On waves of silver I dreamed of gold 'Till I lost the peace that dreaming gives "

The Cameroon Tribune reports

FCFA 193 Billion Lost To DRC Gold Smuggling

                                                                               DR Congo conflict gold

A UN report for 2013 says corruption enabled gold to be shipped to Illegally Neighbouring countries.

The latest United Nations report Assessing the gold smuggling racket in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, says 400 million U.S. Dollars (about FCFA 193 billion) Was Lost by the country in back in 2013 as the mineral WAS smuggled to East African countries.

The FCFA are Central and West African currencies that are pegged to Euro incidentally not in use in the DR Congo.

According To the East African Review, businessmen teamed up with soldiers and politicians to steal DRC minerals, shipping them out via Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania, with the money used in financing eastern DRC's recurring wars.

The Rift Valley Institute   (RVI ) make some interesting observations on the functioning of FARDC ( Congolese Army ) when it comes to matters economic.

“ Subordinates are obliged to pay regular amounts to superiors, often referred to as rapportage (‘bringing in’)—or, as many Congolese soldiers put it, ‘feeding the horse so the horse feeds you’. Rapportage works as an instrument of control: those failing to submit sufficient revenues are sent to so-called ‘drier zones’, with fewer opportunities to make money. The relationship between commander and subordinate is not one of unrestrained predation, but entails a kind of reciprocity. Just as subordinates are expected to deliver to their superiors, so they too are supposed to provide something in return: protection, advice, mitigation of punishments, promotion, leave, and training.”

The 276-page report by the UN Group of Experts on the DRC armed conflict says, corruption, poor quality of life for Citizens, illegal mineral exploitation and interference from Neighbouring countries, remain major sources of instability in the DRC.

Of course it isn't just gold or for that matter FARDC, again from the RVI:

" Opportunities for profiteering extend far beyond minerals: militias have exploited and traded charcoal, hardwoods, cannabis, fish, and wild animals. In addition, almost all armed groups depend heavily on illegal taxation, usually obtained at road-blocks and markets, and through food collections in villages. Some groups—like the FDLR and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group largely operating in the Ruwenzori borderlands—also cultivate food crops on a large scale, trade consumer items, and have extensive investments in urban areas, owning shops, motor-cycles, and pharmacies. These activities require collaborators within the state and business sectors, evidence of armed groups’ broader social underpinnings."

Kenya and Uganda Have Become Major Exporters of gold since the two countries-have the infrastructure to transporting illegal minerals to   international markets. An Estimated 20 million people in DRC, Uganda and Rwanda, and Kenya to Some extent, depend on the illegal mining of DRC minerals as Their only source of livelihood.

Lets not forget coltan or Rwanda. 

" According to the United States Geographic Survey, Rwanda produced more than 25% of the world’s coltan in 2011, more than what their coltan deposits should be able to provide. Rwandan coltan mining relies on mines in the DRC, some of which are in conflict areas and some of which are not. Of the ten large Rwandan mining companies, only four have taken any measures to verify that their product is not conflict-sourced. Rwanda has also been implicated multiple times in Congolese coltan smuggling by the UN, along with Burundi and Uganda. However, Uganda and Burundi do not report having a coltan industry, so those claims are even more difficult for the UN to verify. It is believed that about half of all Rwandan coltan comes from conflict regions in the DRC."

Charges of gold smuggling against Uganda are not new. Some high-ranking military ounce Officials Were Accused by a UN Panel of involvement in smuggling Congolese minerals and other natural resources. HOWEVER, Uganda says it now HAS mineral processing protocol with the Congolese government and dealings with Congolese gold dealers are above board.

But it isn't the official Congolese gold dealers who are the problem.

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