The United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DfID) and the Dutch Foreign Ministry have commissioned a research to explore mechanisms of increasing transparency in minerals trade within the Great Lakes Region, The New Times reports.
A London-based specialist consultancy – Resource Consulting Services (RCS) is currently undertaking research on the minerals traded in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi.
According to a statement released recently in London, the research, which is funded by the two European countries, is being carried out to develop a strategy on how to strengthen transparency in the regional cross-border trade in the region.
“The aim is to better understand the origin of minerals, reduce corruption at the point of export, and increase the fiscal benefit to the DRC.” reads part of the statement
“Building on RCS’s authoritative research on the link between eastern DRC’s conflict dynamics and the minerals trade, the project will develop a strategy to ensure that DRC minerals benefit the population rather than fund military groups”
Several reports have indicated that renegade groups operating mainly in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, have been illegally exploiting minerals, especially Coltan, Cassiterite, Gold and Tin to fuel conflicts.
The groups include the ragtag Ex-FAR Interahamwe or Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), considered to be the root cause of the region’s conflict and resultant human catastrophe.
The terrorist group is made up of architects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
A UN Group of Expert’s Report on FDLR activities in the DRC has bared open, in detail, a vast international criminal network linked to the FDLR. It includes Spanish charities, Ukrainian arms dealers, corrupt officials and even secret North Korean weapons shipments.
The report says that companies are buying minerals from FDLR-held territories in eastern DRC while middlemen are smuggling millions of dollars in minerals mainly to the Middle East every year.