#Congo president demands more from $6.2 billion #China metals deal
Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi criticized a $6.2 billion minerals-for-infrastructure contract with China, saying the world’s largest producer of a key battery metal hasn’t benefited from the deal.
Congo, Africa’s second-largest nation by landmass, is flush with natural resources — including copper and cobalt that are major components in electric vehicles — but remains one of the world’s least-developed countries. Most of its minerals end up in China, which signed a landmark deal with Tshisekedi’s predecessor in 2008 to trade roads and buildings for the two metals.
“The Chinese, they’ve made a lot of money and made a lot of profit from this contract,” Tshisekedi said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Now our need is simply to re-balance things in a way that it becomes win-win.”
The contract renegotiation is part of a campaign by the president to ensure the country gets paid for the full value of its resources, which are increasingly in high demand.
The accord with China was signed at a time when Congo was emerging from decades of dictatorship and war and newly elected President Joseph Kabila was desperate for financing. It mandated that Chinese companies invest $3.2 billion in a copper-cobalt mine and another $3 billion in infrastructure funded by the mine’s revenue.