The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Mineral Wealth

Courtesy of STRATFOR (subscription required), an interesting look at the DRC’s mineral wealth:

The Democratic Republic of the Congo's Mineral Wealth

For years, the Congo’s vast, insecure and mineral-rich geography has attracted the interests of its central and southern neighbors. The government is seated more than 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) from the eastern and southern provinces that contain extensive mineral deposits and potential oil and natural gas deposits. Countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa and Angola — some of which are closer to these deposits than Kinshasa — are trying to formally and informally exploit the Congo’s resources.

The combination of the Congo’s mineral wealth and the precedent of operating in the far stretches of the country have given Uganda and Rwanda a highly lucrative opportunity to justify and sustain their presence in the country. Sometimes this manifests not as support for rebellions but as legitimate infrastructural development. Angola, South Africa, Uganda and Rwanda are developing road and rail infrastructure that enable them to move mineral resources and materiel in and out of the Congo.

Angola is finishing the construction of its Benguela rail line, which means to connect Congo’s Katanga province with the Atlantic Ocean. Rwanda and Uganda are cooperating with Kenya to construct a road, rail and pipeline network that will integrate them with Congo’s Orientale and North Kivu provinces (plans for an extension to South Sudan are also underway). South Africa, which sees Congo’s Katanga province as an extension of the southern African mineral belt that Pretoria has long sought to dominate, has promoted the North-South Corridor, a reliable supply chain route that connects to the Indian Ocean. That all these projects compete with one another benefits the Congo as it tries to reclaim some of its sovereignty.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2014 at 10:01 am and is filed under Democratic Republic of Congo.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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