DRC Pledges Better Governance

140 95 Rapaport News

RAPAPORT… Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila pledged to improve his country’s business climate following critical remarks made by the Group of Eight (G8) regarding how his nation handles its natural resources.

This past weekend, the G8 nations declared that illicit exploitation of, and trade in, natural resources from  eastern DRC had directly contributed to instability and violence, causing undue suffering to its people. A statement from the G8 urged the DRC to “do more to end the conflict and to extend urgently the rule of law.”

“We also urge candidate countries to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), including the DRC, to complete the EITI implementation process as a mechanism to enhance government and accountability in the extractive sector,” the statement further noted.

The G8 also welcomed the ongoing advocacy of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and expressed support for the Kimberley Process (KP).

In marking the DRC’s 50th anniversary of independence today, Kabila was quoted as saying that recent successes included the establishment of peaceful relations with its neighbors and a higher-than-average economic growth rate. 

“It’s equally undeniable that we have also experienced regrettable failings, notably in terms of development, social progress and human rights,” he was quoted as stating by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Kabila added that the country shared “collective responsibility,” for these “inadequacies in our performance.”

Leaders from the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) welcomed the G8 declaration.

“Our experience in so many countries convinces us that resource development can have a positive impact, especially in the alleviation of poverty,” said Dennis Jones, chair of the PDAC’s corporate social responsibility committee. “Resource extraction can give poor countries an economic boost that, if implemented properly, can begin to improve the people’s standard of living. But that requires good governance on the part of the host government. If it’s lacking, there’s a risk that some of the benefits can be diverted for dubious purposes.”

PDAC stated that approximately 50 of the world’s largest mining and oil and gas companies now support EITI and about 17 developed countries, including Canada, support the initiative. Among the developing countries, two, Azerbaijan and Liberia, were already considered compliant and another 29, including the DRC, were candidates for EITI validation.

Transparency requires that governments, companies and civil society work together to create reporting systems that encourage stability and predictability, PDAC’s statement noted. 

 

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