Minerals, Forests, and Violent Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

By
John Katunga

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is emerging from a bloody war that has claimed the lives of nearly 4 million people, the majority of them in the eastern part of the country. In the absence of a strong state, the raging civil wars allowed the rebels, neighboring countries (Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda), and international players to plunder the country’s unparalleled endowment of valuable minerals, wildlife, and timber. In its investigations, the United Nations (2001) found that the violence in the DRC was largely supported by the funds the players gained by looting and exploiting natural resources, mostly minerals in areas under their control—confiscation and extraction of resources made the war, the expert panel reported, “a very lucrative business”.

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