Citing concerns that the current agreement undervalues the country’s resources, the Democratic Republic of the Congo intends to enhance its involvement in a joint cobalt and copper venture with Chinese corporations.
The plan is to increase Congo’s stake from 32% to 70%. President Felix Tshisekedi has instructed his administration to engage in discussions following the consolidation of Congolese parties’ position on the 2008 agreement.
The Congo government argues that the current lopsided arrangement grants it minimal influence over the venture’s activities, as its resources and profits largely depart from the nation.
To ensure a unified negotiation stance among Congolese institutions overseeing the deal’s implementation, President Tshisekedi established an ad hoc panel in March. The panel comprised representatives from the General Inspection of Finance (IGF), the Agency for Supervision, Coordination, and Monitoring of Collaboration Agreements between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Private Partners, state-owned miner Gecamines, as well as representatives from the presidency, government, state auditor, and civil society.
Although two panel members, who were not authorized to speak publicly, confirmed the authenticity of the document and its unpublished findings, requests for comments from China Railway Group Limited and Power Construction Corporation of China (also known as Sinohydro) received no response.
Nonetheless, the commission specified that Congo aims for Gecamines and its subsidiary to acquire a 60% stake in Sicomines, along with a non-dilutable 10% stake for the state, while the Chinese corporations would hold a 30% stake.