How One with Nothing is Wealthy & the other with Plenty Suffers
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the Republic of Congo (DRC) is the largest country. The DRC is still one of the world’s poorest countries, despite its poverty rate decreasing slightly in the previous two decades, particularly in rural areas. In 2018, less than $1.90 a day were experiencing extreme poverty in 72 percent of the population, particularly in the Northwest and Kasai regions(link). DRCongo is one of the wealthiest countries in terms of natural resources in Africa. It has copper, zinc, coltan, cassiterite, gold, bauxite, oil, and gas. However, DRCongo is also one of the world’s poorest countries because their citizens get little benefit from these immense natural resources, which have been exploited for many decades.World bank. (, 2018)
A country with immense natural resources tends to be wealthy. Still, when you see DRCongo, you find no correlation between being rich in natural resources and the low rate of poverty. Since DRCongo is the ninth world country rich in natural resources, the third in Africa. In 2017 DRC was the second country in the world that exported tantalum mining (mineral exporter). Therefore, it is also the third poorest country globally, where corruption, irresponsibility, and war are the reason behind being poor.
The issues behind mismanagement of natural resources in DRCongo
Poverty: DRCongo is the third poorest country where most rural areas are being portrayed to suffer more than others, like the people in a western country Kasai living in extreme poverty with less than 1.90$ a day. In 2018 the economy was slowed down. Following the decline in commodity prices, particularly for cobalt and copper, which constitute more than 80% of the country’s exports, economic growth decreased from 5.8% in 2018 to 4.4% in 2019. The DRC has a human capital ranking of 135 from 157 countries and a human capital index score of 0,37% below the Sub-Saharan Africa average (0.40). This means that an infant born today would be 37% less efficient in adulthood than a child who has earned full schooling and decent healthcare. On average, Congolese children spend 9.2 years at school, and 43% of them suffer from malnutrition. Today, 43% (69% in urban areas and 23% in rural areas) have access to drinking water; and only 20% have access to sanitation. The DRC’s fertility rate is above the Sub-Saharan average, with an average of 6.1 children per woman (4.8). At 125.24 babies per 1,000 teens, early childbirth figures are similarly high (15-19 years) World bank. (, 2018). It will be hard for the children due to the lack of proper access to clean water, sanitation, healthcare, and nutrition that will result in stunt due to malnutrition. (Click the link to watch the video).
The mismanagement of natural resources in Congo, especially in the mining sector, has lead to child labor, where many children suffer a lot. As more than fifty percent of the world’s cobalt come from DRCongo, twenty percent of cobalt come from artisanal miners, according to UNICEF 40000 estimated to be working in the mine. The children who work in the mine are experiencing severe life that should end up being diagnosed with lung diseases and hurt. The report of Amnesty International has spoken to several children to convince us they were always sick. Cobalt dust inhalation is a possible source of fatal heavy metal lung disease. Cobalt skin touch may lead to dermatitis – chronic rash. However, there are no goggles or gloves to shield children and other miners. The child from 9 above can be found work in the mining where poverty is the reason behind all their suffering. In the interview, Amnesty International interviewed one of the child miners and said” I worked in the mines because my parents couldn’t afford to pay for food and clothes for me. Papa is unemployed, and mama sells charcoal.” because of the poverty in some household children decide to dropout school for them to get food. Even those who attend school during the week they suppose to work around 10-12 a day and paid 1.20 a day. The same report said that many children are carrying a heavy sack of coltan on their head and heavy rain over them after that many are being beaten by the security guard of the extractive company. (“Amnesty International,” 2019).
Click the link here to watch the case Sky News. (2017).
During the mining extraction, many artisanal miners lost their lives there according to a UNICEF report it estimates that one person died in the mining site.in 2019 43 artisan miners have died in the kamoto copper company (home, 2019).
Corruption has been portrayed as an issue in the mining sector in DRCcongo According to the Global Witness community, as the first African producer of copper, the nation experienced a loss of at least $750 million over three years, from 2013 to 2015. These sums constitute approximately 30 percent of the DRC’s mining sales, the largest global cobalt supplier. As the cause of these diversions, corruption and poor management have been cited. According to NGOs, the diverted money might have been used for health, education, or infrastructure purposes. (AfricaNews, 2017)
Many mining minerals companies are owned by foreign companies 80% Percentage of mineral processing plants owned in Katanga Province by Chinese businesses and 90% of the minerals mined from Katanga mines were also exported to China. (Com/Mining, 2014) As the mineral being extracted and controlled by the foreigner’s company it highly benefits the foreigner country instead of where it originates from. DRCongo will still receive little benefit from their natural resources.
Deforestation is one of the causes of mismanagement of natural resources in DRCongo.The Democratic Republic of the Congo lost 4.83Mha of humid primary forests from 2002 to 2019, representing 34% of its overall loss of tree cover during the same time span. In this time the total area of humid primary forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo decreased by 4.6 percent. (Globalforestwatch.org, 2020). As the forest continues to be cleared as the effect of climate increases that is why the government and other organizations in charge of environmental management have to enforce their policy to conserve our forest.
Call to action for natural resources in Congo
Nationalization in the mining industry based on what I get from the research I have found that 80% of minerals are owned by china this means that china benefits more than what the government is supposed to get. For this, if the government controls all mining sectors there should be more benefit to DRCongo and its citizens since we have found that being rich in natural resources has no more contribution to its citizens. For this government, everything from mining sectors and makes sure that income generated will benefit the Congolese
Enforce the legislation and prioritize transparency and also fights against corruption as we have seen that much money is lost in an unknown way. The government has to set heavy punishment for the ones who ask and give corruption. This will bring attention and will prevent those who were corrupted.
Government and mining industries have ensured that their miners are working in a safe and protected environment and fight against child labor in mining sectors.
The government should conduct a census and identify those below the poverty line and provide them with monthly assistance. Their children should be provided with free medical care and education in order to reduce poverty which is why children are forced to work hard in the mine looking for food. Where they live a miserable life they are plagued by rain, beatings, and heavy loads. The reseason why this for child labor many children are suffring with hunger because their families cannot afford their basic need. Even if the government has provided free education there are still some school facilities that are hard to get from those families like uniform, school book,incentive for the teachers.Therefore if will take care those families the children will be able to continue their education without any problem.
The government needs to put more effort into environmental management as well as the fight against deforestation. The environment is our future and our life since it plays essential roles in our everyday life. The government has to ensure that the income generated from natural resources is fair and equitable in benefiting its Citizens.
In sump up DRC is the one of richest African country with immense of natural resources but instead of bring the benefit for the country is really a problem. Being the first African country exporter of tantalum mining expect in 2017 was the second netherless mismanagement of its natural resources, plus irrisponsible government are the causes of to the poverty, corruption,deforestation, child labor, loss of lives for some mininer, working in unsafe condition and also lack of transparency for the mining company. If this remained unsloved poverty eradication, poor infrastructures and other development activities will get solution. Based on the title of this article it is clear that DRC is rich but their richness contributes less while those with nothing developing significantly. When referring, Rwanda is not rich in natural resources but it is developing rapidly with developed infrastructures and social economic development. But DRC is the third poorest country in the world and its economic growth decelerated to 4.4 percent in 2019, after hitting 5.8 percent in 2018 while in Rwanda over the decade to 2018, growth averaged 7.5 percent, while domestic product (GDP) per capita growth increased by 5 percent annually,World bank. (2018)
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Home, A. (2019, July 12). Why the cobalt market needs Congo’s “illegal” miners: Andy Home. Retrieved December 9, 2020, from U.S. website: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-congo-cobalt-ahome-idUSKCN1U71VS
AfricaNews. (2017, July 22). DRC: $750 million in mining revenue embezzled-Report. Retrieved December 9, 2020, from Africanews website: https://www.africanews.com/2017/07/22/drc-750-million-mining-revenue-diverted-report/Com/Mining, K. (2014). Democratic Republic of Congo Country mining guide Strategy Series. Retrieved from https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2014/09/democratic-republic-congo-mining-guide.pdf
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Sky News. (2017). Special report : Inside the Congo cobalt mines that exploit children [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcJ8me22NVs&feature=youtu.be