DRC and China renegotiate mining ‘contract of the century’, thus averting relationship rift

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government has noted it had finally resolved the 16-year dispute over a controversial mining deal between it and China that was set to sour the relations between both countries.
The DRC government officials, who spoke under condition of anonymity, disclosed recently that open talks with Beijing led to the renegotiation of the “the contract of the century” signed 16 years ago, thus averaging a rift between the DRC and China. The renegotiated contract ensures that Chinese companies would invest $7 billion in local infrastructure over the next 20 years and also grant a large stake for Congo in the partnership, marking a diplomatic victory for President Felix Tshisekedi. Under his administration, there have been accusations leveled against Chinese companies that they extracted vital metals from the DRC without meeting its obligation stipulated in the deal to support the people where they worked.
Confidently billed at the time as the “deal of the century,” The Sino Congolaise des Mines (Sicomines) was the most significant Chinese investment project in Africa when it was agreed in 2007. The infrastructure deal gave Chinese partners mining rights to DRC’s cobalt and copper deposits that are used in electric vehicle batteries and electronics. In exchange, China agreed to build much-needed infrastructure projects such as urban roads, highways and hospitals. However, fast forward 16 years and the Sicomines deal has not lived up to expectations owing to infrastructure project delays, unexpected cost rises as well as problems associated with poor quality roads and infrastructure and inadequate environment and social impact studies.

About Geraldine Boechat 2631 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia