EU, France pledge €50m investment in DRC’s infrastructure, mining sector
The European Union has launched an initial mobilization of €50m in Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) critical minerals sector and infrastructure projects on the sidelines of the first-ever Kinshasa Economic Forum.
The funding was announced at the inaugural Kinshasa Economic Forum, which brought together representatives from the EU, the DRC and France French President Emmanuel Macron attended the forum alongside the European Commissioners for internal market and international partnerships Thierry Breton and Jutta Urpilainen, and more than 50 French company CEOs. The investment in the DRC’s geological mapping, urban infrastructure, and digital education projects is part of the massive $300bn EU’s Global Gateway initiative, which aims to counterbalance China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Despite having an estimated €23 trillion worth of raw materials reserves, including almost 50% of the world’s largest cobalt reserves, the DRC principally exports raw minerals. China has been the largest beneficiary, having imported 84% of the DRC’s cobalt exports in 2019. EU’s partnerships with DRC “must be about more than just mining,” EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutti Urpilainen, stressed, calling for a win-win partnership that builds the entire value chain, promoting processing, refining, and manufacturing in this large central African country. But with the DRC scarred by a bloody conflict in its eastern regions and involved in a protracted diplomatic crisis with neighboring country Rwanda, Urpilainen also stressed that “peace and stability are preconditions for sustainable development.” DRC’s economy is nonetheless on an upward trajectory, with 6.1% GDP growth in 2022, and is projected to achieve 6.7% this year, according to IMF’s latest figures.