China and the Democratic Republic of Congo avert a relationship rift

A recent report by the East African revealed that government officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have engaged in talks with Beijing to revise the mining deal with Chinese firms. This development comes sixteen years after the initial agreement was signed, which the Congolese government described as “the contract of the century.”

Under President Felix Tshisekedi’s administration, there have been allegations against China for extracting valuable metals from the DRC without adequately supporting the local population. However, on January 29, officials announced that the contract had been revised to include specific requirements for Chinese mining enterprises, such as building local infrastructure for Congolese residents.

The new agreement is valued at $5.8 billion, and Chinese companies are expected to pay nearly $6 billion over the next 20 years, a significant increase from the previous $1.2 billion over 15 years. A statement from authorities also revealed that the new contract would involve tax exemptions of around $100 million and the DRC would receive $240 million in royalties on Sicomines’ yearly turnover, a business established to manage mining earnings under the arrangement.

According to the East African report, the renegotiated contract provides the Congolese side with a larger stake in the company compared to the majority stake held by the Chinese side. The revised agreement is aimed at ensuring that Chinese mining firms contribute more to the development of local infrastructure and support the welfare of the Congolese people.

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