"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


shameless self-promotion

Nicholas Garrett and I have a piece out in the new issue of Accord's Cross-Border Peacebuilding Project entitled "Trade, Development, and Peacebuilding in the African Great Lakes: the Role of the Minerals Sector." We argue that the mineral sector in the eastern DRC can and must become part of the peace building and trade development process if the region is to experience increased stability.

It's available as a PDF here; you have to register, but access is free. Our piece starts on page 86. I'd love your comments if you have the chance to take a look.


Anonymous theblogrebel said...

Just finished reading the your piece and it was very informative. The mindset I get from the piece and your suggestios at the end is once again this must be solved by the regional actors. But Dr. Seay the demands of West and the money of the west is fueling all of this. The demand for these minerals are in Europe,China and America. We have seen how the west created the issue. But here are my questions:

1) Does FARDC have a strong and professional and educated officer corp?
2) Has China participated in Kimia II joint operation

An educated officer corp is going to produce the leaders for the DRC, but who is training them?

Friday, January 21, 2011 9:42:00 PM

Anonymous Don Stoll said...

I believe the analysis by Mr. Garrett and yourself of the crisis in the Great Lakes region is on the mark. Reduction of that crisis to one that "can be solved primarily through mineral trade control measures" creates the danger that failure of such measures to end the violence will lead to disappointment, despair, and surrender--in measures just as unrealistic as the great expectations attached to these measures by groups like The Enough Project and Global Witness. We therefore need vigorous criticism of the tendency to depict mineral trade control measures as a panacea for the Great Lakes countries.

Critics of the simple "conflict minerals" narrative will of course face the challenge of peddling your more complex narrative in a buyer's market where one can scoop up simple explanations and solutions at bargain-basement prices. As an alternative to the apparent quick fix of mineral trade control measures, selling provision of security guarantees and economic development for Rwanda, a strengthening of the DRC's law and order institutions, and prosecution of members of the Rwandan government for human rights violations won't come easily.

One must attempt the hard sell, however--especially because, as you write on p. 87, "If armed groups lose access to mineral revenues while the state continues to fail to adequately maintain security, it is likely that armed groups will prey on the population even more than they already do."

Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:50:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Thanks, Don.

@theblogrebel, I think it's a mistake to assume that this fight is primarily about the minerals. Longstanding tensions over land rights and citizenship status are what drives it; the minerals are a way of funding some, but certainly not all, of the fighting.

Given that consumer demand is unlikely to decrease anytime soon (and make no mistake - demand for cell phones and other consumer electronics is high all over the world, including in India, many African states, and Latin America), we think it makes more sense to try to legitimize the trade in the interests of a long term solution.

The FARDC does not have a professional officer corps. The US has trained a few soldiers in the last six months, but a much broader effort to get the army under control is desperately needed. Kimia II was a UN-FARDC operation; no other armies were involved in it except those the operation targeted (primarily the FDLR).

Saturday, January 22, 2011 11:39:00 AM


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