In line with the “China-Africa project for the improvement of governance and forest resource governance” headed up by the International Institute for Environment and Development DRDC (IIED), and established by the WWF together with the Natural Resources Network, a multiparty stakeholder workshop was held from 8th to 9th August 2015 at the Regional Counsel of Non-Governmental Organisations for the development of the East Kasai (CRONGD)’s offices. The purpose of the workshop was to share the results of the study and discuss the current situation regarding Chinese investment and trends in land usage in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The purpose of the workshop was to share the results of the study and discuss the current situation regarding Chinese investment and trends in land usage in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
China currently imports three-quarters of its wood from the African continent. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that this demand would be of great concern regarding both the socio-economic and environmental impacts in the wood supply chain from Africa to Chinese businesses operating in Africa. In the course of the past few years, policy makers, experts and media have expressed their concerns regarding Chinese investments in Africa and the procurement of natural resources from Africa to China.
In this light, participants used the study identifying Chinese investors and their main activities in the Eastern Kasai Province as outlined below:
- The Chinese are involved in subsistence farming and small-scale breeding of (pigs and goats) for their daily subsistence and are affiliated to the Anhui-Congo Mining Investment Company, Société Anhui-Congo d’Investissement Minier (SACIM) along with the crushing facility (building materials);
- The mining company Lupatapata (SAIM) Lubilanji which belongs to Charly KASHALA and Rosine, involved in diamond mining in KANSENGA on the Lubilanji-Sankuru River, in the sector Mukumbi in the Lupatapata and Katanda Territory;
- Kalamba group mines diamonds on the Lubilanji-Sankuru River in the Katanda and Lupatapata Territory are in the informal sector, and are involved in semi-industrial mining and collect aquatic organisms meant for medical research; and
- The crushing facility in the Katanda territory (Tshitenge city) is involved in carbonate rock farming, and produces stones which are sold to the provincial government and third parties for the construction and rehabilitation of roads; and
- Chinese investors operating within the region are not very open regarding the details of their business dealings.
In terms of logging, no specific Chinese operator has, to date, been singled out. However, there are several of them who are involved in the industrial and semi-industrial mining of diamonds, quarries and building materials, of small enterprise and health. In addition, information on the production, taxation, the social responsibility of businesses are kept secret. They are characterised by mining, financial, and tax predation notwithstanding exploitation of manual labour.
In addition, the Chinese have been present in the East Kasai region for more than three years, and are not only involved in mining, but also in business. The way in which they mine diamonds does not benefit the local population. When setting up a business, the business needs to be officially registered under the company register, and stipulate the manner in which the business in question will contribute towards uplifting the community which includes, but is not limited to: the building of schools, sanitary facilities, and roads.The fact that the Chinese are involved in the retail industry which has not helped improve the lives of the indigenous populations complicates matters further. The diamond pipeline produced by the Chinese is not an official pipeline. In this light, we are lead to believe that a contract was signed not only with the Congolese government, but with individuals to whom they give the false impression of accountability.
In conclusion, the work of this research needs to be complimented by further investigations into the matter at hand.
- Dieudonné TSHIMPIDIMBUA – Secrétaire Exécutif, Conseil Régional des Organisations non Gouvernemental de Développement du Kasaï Oriental – CRONGD Kasaï Oriental