Sustainable economic development in the mining sector
Title: Integrated economic development in the mining sector
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Planning
Overall term: 2019 to 2021
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has experienced a long period of conflicts, political instability and mismanagement. It can no longer perform the basic tasks of a state and is therefore considered a failed state. At the same time, it is one of the most resource-rich countries in the world. Mining has a share of more than 20 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) It is practised both industrially and in an artisanal way, and is regarded as a central economic factor. Almost more than one third of state revenues are derived from this area. However, so far growth and revenues have not led to a tangible reduction of the extreme poverty in the country.
Although many multi-national mining companies have opened branches in DR Congo, this has resulted in only few jobs. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have only limited access to international markets. There is also a shortage of skilled workers. At the same time, thousands of people are working under dangerous conditions in artisanal mining without an official employment contract or work permit. Here, they extract minerals with only the simplest of means – often using their bare hands. Many families rely on the income from these activities to survive.
Cooperation among the key stakeholders in the mining industry is characterised by mutual mistrust. There is currently a lack of transparency in the management of mining and participation opportunities which would allow the needs and expectations of the various important interest groups to be considered. To allow the population to benefit more from the country’s natural resources, DR Congo needs more employment opportunities in this area. However, for this to happen, the private sector must become better attuned to the dynamics of the mining sector. In addition, it is essential that the working conditions in artisanal mining be made more humane.
The DR Congo supports the establishment and expansion of local production chains in mining to ensure improved economic development that creates job opportunities.
The project operates mainly in the provinces of Haut Katanga and Lualaba, Sud-Kivu and the capital city Kinshasa. It works with a number of partners. The project primarily supports the following areas:
- Dialogue and participation: The project supports multi-stakeholder dialogue formats. Examples include the projects Investissements Durables au Katanga (IDAK), Investissements Durables au Kivu (IDAKI) and Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI). These platforms provide an opportunity for representatives of civil society, the local and, in some cases, national government and mining companies to regularly discuss current challenges facing the mining sector and find solutions together. The project also improves cooperation between private sector, state and civil society stakeholders. It builds the capacities and skills of civil society for the transparent and environmentally friendly management of the mining sector.
- Standards in artisanal cobalt mining: Artisanal mining, in which the mining work is carried out using only manual methods, is especially prevalent in the extraction of cobalt. The project supports mining cooperatives with implementing and providing evidence of standards in artisanal cobalt mining. The goal is to improve working and living conditions in the mining regions. In this connection, the project is planning to improve access to global delivery chains.
- Promoting local procurement: The project links mining companies, SMEs and business development services (BDS). The objective is to discover future local markets and identify the associated qualification requirements. At the same time, the project provides technical support for local subcontractors to improve the alignment of their offering to the needs of the market.
- Vocational training. The project aligns vocational training programmes with the actual demand of the mining sector. This includes incorporating more practical content relating to production into the course curricula. With practice-oriented training offers, the project improves access to the labour market for