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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Economist.com

Economist.com: "Economist.com Congo Who benefits from the minerals? Sep 20th 2007 | KINSHASA From The Economist print edition A review of mining contracts may well be a sham Get article background THERE is nothing new in Congo's staggering wealth benefiting the few and bringing misery to the many. When peace finally prevailed in 2003, after the last big Congolese war, the transitional government signed several dubious contracts with foreign companies that bought concessions at give-away prices to exploit vast tracts of copper-bearing land. Some disenchanted Congolese and sceptical foreign observers complained, but most people's attention was on holding the first multi-party elections in more than 40 years, so little was done. Still, after the government announced a review of all mining contracts in April, hopes rose that the principle of accountability would be taken seriously. Such hope has begun to fade. More than 60 contracts between private firms (nearly all of them foreign) and Congo's state mining companies were to be reviewed. A clutch of other concessions would also be looked at. A government-appointed commission would check whether companies were abiding by the mining code, paying the right taxes and investing in infrastructure and social services, as they promised. In short, President Joseph Kabila's government had apparently bowed"

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