On Friday, April 13, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a roundtable with Mr. Albert Yuma Mulimbi, chairman of Gécamines and president of the Congolese Business Federation (Fédération des Entreprises du Congo).
In his prepared remarks (official document attached), Mr. Yuma emphasized the importance of the mining industry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the overall wellbeing of the country, calling it the “lungs” of the Congolese economy. He highlighted the 2017 production figures of DRC’s most profitable minerals, including copper, cobalt, and coltan, but stressed that the industry was not benefitting the Congolese people as much as it should. According to the speaker, the new Congolese mining code seeks to change this, increasing taxes on profits from 30 to 35 percent and royalties from 2 to 3.5 percent for copper and cobalt, and expanding the government’s stake in new mining projects from 5 to 10 percent. Mr. Yuma acknowledged the concerns expressed by some of the world’s largest mining companies in response to the new mining code, but emphasized that profits should increase once the new code is introduced and the DRC reputation as an attractive mining destination should not be tarnished.
A discussion, moderated by Dr. J. Peter Pham, Atlantic Council vice president and Africa Center director, followed Yuma’s remarks, with participants focusing on the transparency of the mining industry’s supply chains and networks in the DRC and the various ways in which civil society concerns would or would not be incorporated in the country’s policies.
The delegation accompanying Mr. Yuma also included H.E. François Nkuna Balumuene, Ambassador of the DRC to the United States; Mr. Patrick Thierry André Kakwata, Member of the Congolese National Assembly and Chairman of the Natural Resources and Environmental Commission; Mr. Henri-Thomas Lokondo, Member of the Congolese National Assembly; and Amb. Barnabé Kikaya bin Karubi, Senior Diplomatic Advisor to DRC President Joseph Kabila. Also in attendance and participating in the roundtable were Atlantic Council Board Director Amb. Jendayi Frazer, Former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Ms. Florizelle Liser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Council on Africa; and a number of US and non-US government officials and mining industry experts.