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DRC: Tshisekedi to review ‘Chinese’ mining contracts, will allies agree?

By Dr. Roger-Claude Liwanga
Posted on Thursday, 24 June 2021 13:57

DRC’s President Félix Tshisekedi on 12 May 2021 in Kolwezi. DR / DRC Presidency

DRC’s President Félix Tshisekedi hopes to persuade foreign mining companies to review contracts that they finalised under Joseph Kabila. To win the upcoming battle, he will also have to convince his own political friends, most of whom are involved in joint ventures, that his approach is a valid one.

Between 2007 and 2008, under the DRC’s former president Joseph Kabila’s regime, Kinshasa and Beijing signed a very specific set of mining contracts, which are now referred to as the famous ‘Chinese contracts’. These were apparently simple barter contracts, where a group of Chinese companies – China Railway Group Limited and Sinohydro Corporation – undertook to build thousands of kilometres of road and rail infrastructure, as well as hundreds of health centres and hospitals, for a total of $6bn. In return, the DRC allowed these companies to mine a number of their copper, cobalt and gold reserves.

Promises that are slow to materialise