why we act
With tremendous human capital, unparalleled natural resources, remarkable biodiversity, and rich cultural heritage, the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the richest countries on earth. Congo sits on trillions of dollars of untapped minerals, including cobalt, coltan, copper, and gold. Substances critical to the military and tech industries, and contained in cellphones, gaming consoles, cars, jewelry, and myriad consumer products. Millions of working age Congolese are looking for employment opportunities, but remain unemployed due in large part to government corruption and mismanagement.
Yet, the Congolese are missing the benefit from their natural resource wealth and face arrest and torture for simply speaking out for economic development, peace, and democracy. The country is facing severe underdevelopment, deteriorating infrastructure, armed group attacks, and political instability. Instead of being a source of development, Congolese mines are feeding a corrupt and opaque political system benefitting local elites and international businessmen.
5.4 million Congolese have died as a result of conflict since 1998.
Congo produces 53% of the world's cobalt
The current situation in Congo is the result of years of international
corruption, political despotism, and complicity of the west.
Shady Business Practices
Since 2009, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has lost over $5 billion to corrupt and opaque mining contracts—a result of international mining companies and their representatives preying on a corrupt and mismanaged government and opressed populations. Over the same period, the state’s health, education, security, and legal infrastructures have continued to erode, inflicting massive damage on the Congolese people and regional trade, security, and development.
It is estimated that the Congolese people lost $1.38 billion in just five of many shady mining deals.
Against this backdrop, the regime of Joseph Kabila had ignored the Constitution while rapidly consolidating its economic and political power. On December 19, 2016, Kabila clung to the presidency beyond the constitutionally mandated two-term limit. Recognizing that a peaceful transition of power and an end to mineral trade corruption go hand-in-hand, Stand With Congo joined the Congolese youth movement in calling for free and fair elections and demanding that Kabila leave office immediately. In 2019 we were successful Kabila stepped down, and DRC experienced its first nonviolent transfer of power.
Complicit International Community
From the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Belgian colonial exploitation, to today's multinational minerals trade, the global economy has benefitted immensely from Congo’s people and natural wealth. Congo's resources power cell phones, electric cars, and cutting-edge military technology worldwide. While foreign powers reap profits, most global citizens remain unaware of the link to Congo in their pockets. When exposed to Congo in the media, narratives center on death and despair, shifting the attention away from foreign and political responsibility, leading to apathy for the Congolese. The time to act is upon us: call on mining companies to step up, and join us in supporting the nonviolent Congolese grassroots leadership and the call for democracy, transparency, and human rights.
Financial Times: Why Glencore bought
Israel tycoon out of Congo mines
Bloomberg: With His Family’s Fortune at Stake, President Kabila Digs In
Joseph Kabila and his family have business ties worth hundreds of millions of dollars that span nearly every sector in Congo, including mining, agriculture, banking, and real estate.