A rift between China and the Democratic Republic of Congo has been averted owing to the intervention of the Congolese government. The Congolese government noted that it recently resolved the controversial mining deal between it and China. The contentious deal had felt like it would sour the relationship between both countries.
A report by the media showed that DRC government officials disclosed recently that open talks with Beijing led to the new agreement. It happened sixteen years after the two parties signed “the contract of the century,” as described by the Congolese government.
However, under President Felix Tshisekedi’s administration, there have been accusations against China that they extracted vital metals from the DRC without feeling obliged to support the people where they worked.
On January 29, officials said the contract had been revised to include specific requirements for Chinese mining enterprises, such as building local infrastructure for Congolese residents.
According to a statement from authorities, the new deal is valued at $5.8 billion. André Wameso, President Félix Tshisekedi’s Deputy Director of Cabinet, Inspector-General of Finance Jules Alingete, Infrastructure Minister Alexis Gisaro, and Government Spokesman Patrick Muyaya said Chinese companies would have to pay nearly $6 billion over the next 20 years, up from $1.2 billion over the previous 15 years.
Mr Alingete, whose investigations in 2023 revealed an imbalance between the Congolese authorities and Chinese firms, stated on Monday: “These companies have agreed to build a total of 7,000 kilometers of roads in the DRC, worth $7 billion.
The project will take 20 years to complete. The Chinese side has undertaken to build 650 kilometers of roads worth $624 million in 2024. Each year, DRC will benefit from $324 million to finance road construction,” Mr Gisaro said.
The new contract would involve tax exemptions of some $100 million. The DRC should also gain from $240 million in royalties on Sicomines’ yearly turnover, a business established to administer mining earnings under the arrangement.
“The renegotiated contract gives the Congolese side a larger stake in this company, whereas the Chinese side had a majority stake,” the media report states.