France has become the latest country to go hunting in the resource wealth of DR Congo. Areva, a French nuclear firm has moved to sign a deal to exploit uranium in DR Congo. With the western countries known to operate within the politics of realism when it concerns Africa, observers have been left to wonder what is next for DR Congo.
DR Congo has one of the worlds major uranium reserves and to this end, French president, Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy has visited the country. He is also expected to visit uranium-rich Niger on Friday along with Ministers and other executives from French firms – including Areva’s chief executive, France Telecom, cement maker Lafarge and construction group Vinci – chasing contracts in various sectors. However, no further details were released concerning the Uranium mining deal. Expert researches have shown that most of African resource wars have been facilitated by Western corporations and governments (du racisme français by Odile Tobner: p23).
Dozens of multinational corporations including Barclays Bank, De Beers and Anglo American have all been accused of facilitating the plunder of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s wealth in a scathing UN report published in October of 2002. An independent panel of experts reported to the UN security council that 85 multinational companies based in Europe, the US and South Africa had violated ethical guidelines in dealing with criminal networks which have pillaged natural resources from the war-torn central African country. According to the panel, a scramble for gold, diamonds, cobalt and copper by army officers, government officials and entrepreneurs from Europe and US, Congo and neighboring African countries had generated billions of dollars which found its way to mining companies and financial institutions.
Mr Sakorzy has however vowed that France will be using the mineral wealth of the Democratic Republic of Congo to help bring peace to central Africa. He warned that the regions people could become rich by working together or continue to fight and remain poor. Concerning the joint forces of Congo and Rwanda to battle rebels in the eastern part of the country, Mr Sarkozy was full of praise for Congolese President Joseph Kabila.
Mr Sarkozy has made the business trip despite the fact that France and DR Congo have been at loggerheads for years over who is to blame for Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, in which some 800,000 people were slaughtered. Congolese media had accused France of seeking a Balkanisation of the Congo and trying to use DR Congo’s mineral wealth to help mend France’s ties with Rwanda.