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DRC Wants to Renegotiate Chinese Mining Deals. It Won’t Be Easy.

DR Congo President Félix Tshisekedi last month traveled to the country’s mining heartland in Upper Katanga to personally tell everyone that he’s had enough of business as usual and that he plans to renegotiate unfair foreign mining contracts. While he didn’t call out the Chinese by name, everyone knew that’s precisely who was referring to given that 30 out of the 40 foreign mining companies operating in mineral-rich province are Chinese-affiliated.

But it’s not going to be easy for the President to follow through on that promise. After all, he doesn’t have a lot of leverage against the Chinese given there isn’t a lot of international competition to take their place if should they leave. He will also need their support for his upcoming re-election campaign in 2023.

So, who’s the President actually targeting with his new get-tough populist tone? Domestic stakeholders? The United States? Christian Géraud Neema Byamungu is an independent Congolese mining and policy analyst who’s been closely following Tshisekedi’s announcements and the rapidly shifting politics involving the Chinese in the DRC. He joins Eric & Cobus from Tokyo to explain what he thinks the President wants to achieve with the call to renegotiate the mining deals.

Show Notes:

About Christian Géraud Neema Byamungu:

Christian Géraud Neema Byamungu is an analyst and observer of China-Africa relations who graduated from Renmin University of China and International University of Japan. Previously he worked as a project manager for a small Congolese mining company Intermines specializing in cassiterite and gold production and later as a consultant on good governance and policy advocacy for the “Centre d’Etudes pour l’Action Social”. Currently, he is a junior researcher on governance and natural resource management with a focus on the governance of natural resource funds in non-democratic resource-rich countries. 

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