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14 Mai 2021

Bienvenu-Marie BAKUMANYA, Barron's (USA)

DRC: President says he will renegotiate mining contracts

"DR Congo President Says He Will Renegotiate Mining Contracts", 14 May 2021

President Felix Tshisekedi has announced that he wants to renegotiate DR Congo's mining contracts, reportedly including those with China, lamenting that the Congolese are still "languishing in misery" despite vast mineral resources.

The large central African country is a major exporter of copper, uranium and cobalt -- a key ingredient in batteries for consumer gadgets -- but remains one of the world's poorest states. [...]

"It is time for the country to readjust its contracts with miners to seal win-win partnerships," he said. [...]

"It is also our fault. Some of our compatriots badly negotiated the mining contract. Worse, the little which returns to the state, they put in their own pockets," he added, referring to corruption that has plagued the nation. [...]

The day before he had arrived in Lubumbashi, capital of Haut-Katanga province and heart of the country's mining region, saying that  investors who "stole from us" were "getting richer and richer" while the Congolese "continue to languish in misery".

Around 40 mining companies operate in Katanga -- around 30 of them are Chinese or predominantly Chinese.

The newspaper Le Potentiel said there was no doubt the president's remarks were targeted at the Chinese firms, predicting that he had begun "a standoff with China" over contracts signed by his predecessor Joseph Kabila, who ruled for nearly two decades after taking over from his father. [...]