state of proximity

DRC: Dan Gertler, the inevitable rise of Kabila’s businessman

in depth

This article is part of the dossier:

Dan Gertler: God, the Congo, and him

By Romain Gras, Mathieu Olivier, Special correspondent in Tel-Aviv

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Posted on August 24, 2022 12:56

 © photomontage by JA
photomontage by JA

During the 2000s, Dan Gertler became omnipresent in the diamond sector in the DRC. A look back at how the businessman, now accused of corruption and sanctioned by the US, built his empire.

This is part 2 of a 4-part series

In April 2003, when the Sun City agreements were signed in South Africa under the eyes of Thabo Mbeki, Dan Gertler was proud. Very proud, in fact. Secretly, he has just participated in the elaboration of the peace process between the government and the Congolese rebel groups. He spent hours alone with Paul Kagame, talked for days with Joseph Kabila and used his influence with the Bush administration in the US. Thus, inevitably, the occasional diplomat, who is first and foremost a businessman, rubbed his hands together in glee.

The entrepreneur, barely 30 years old, was only known to a handful of people at the top of the Congolese state, but he had just succeeded in his first major gamble. In 2001, he gave up challenging Joseph Kabila’s suspension of the diamond monopoly that Laurent-Désiré Kabila had granted him in 1999.

He then accepted the role of the

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