Dehai News Coltan: at the heart of DRC-Rwanda tensions [Business Africa]

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Ndéa Yoka, journalist, presenter and producer for Business Africa.

Business Africa

Coltan: Rwanda leads exports, surpassing DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda stand out as the world's top two exporters of coltan, a crucial mineral for the electronics industry that also fuels disputes between the two countries. According to Ecofin Agency, in 2023, coltan exports from the DRC totaled 1,918 tons, compared to 2,070 tons for Rwanda.

Despite its vast reserves, the DRC has seen its position challenged since 2014, engaging in fierce rivalry with its Rwandan neighbor. The lack of traceability and the persistence of smuggling raise questions about the ethics of the origin of Rwandan coltan, highlighting challenges related to natural resource governance and multinational responsibility.

Although Rwanda denies accusations of plundering Congo's resources, President Paul Kagame has acknowledged that his country serves as a hub for the smuggling of Congolese minerals, suggesting that the international community is complicit in distorting the global supply chain for the mineral. 

As Rwanda's rise in coltan exports underscores the urgent need to enhance transparency and combat smuggling, international financial expert Junior Mbuyi believes this situation stems from illegal exploitation of coltan from eastern DRC by Rwanda, with the tacit support of certain international powers.

He calls for awareness from the international community to end this complicity. Furthermore, Mbuyi believes that the DRC and Rwanda must resolve their disputes through economic solutions.

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