Guest blogger Jason Stearns explains further his assertion last week that Congo mining industry reform deserves 'cautious optimism.'
Last week, I expressed some cautious optimism here about reforms in the mining sector in the eastern Congo. I received quite a bit of feedback on various issues, which merit another posting to clarify some issues. (See original post here.)
First, "cautious" is the operative word. The Congolese export ban (September 2010- March 2011) and the US electronic industry's embargo of untraced minerals (April 2011- present) have caused major job losses in the Kivus, as well as played into the hands of a select elite of military commanders, including ICC-indictee Bosco Ntaganda. It is, however, important to point out that neither initiative was caused directly by the Dodd-Frank legislation in the US. Rather, the export ban was decreed by the Congolese presidency, while the industry embargo was an aggressive interpretation of the US legislation. Dodd-Frank call for companies to carry out due diligence and to report their findings; the OECD guidelines call on companies to minimize the risk of financing armed groups.