The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) offers a wide array of investment opportunities and all investors are invited to explore these opportunities and form mutually beneficial partnerships with government that will ultimately benefit the country’s citizens.
This is the message from new DRC mining minister, Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi who was speaking at the opening keynote of DRC Mining Week Online event which takes place from 14 to 15 June.
Kalambayi was joined on the panel by André Wameso from the Presidency; Lord Dolar Popat, the UK prime minister’s trade envoy to the DRC; Louis Watum, president of the DRC Chamber of Mines; and Marie-Gabrielle Kalenga Opese, Deputy CEO of Standard Bank DRC.
Addressing the keynote topic The DRC’s investment rating: An inaccurate perception, Kalambayi stated that the mining sector is a key driver of economic growth and in turn, of the development of the DRC. However, at the same time, she stated that it was important for mining companies to adhere to the country’s mining legislation.
“These legal instruments offer to all mining investors, local and international, many benefits as they encompass attractive measures such as the implementation of processes that are fast, objective and transparent for granting or renewing mining and quarry rights along with the establishment of fiscal, custom and currency exchange regimes that are competitive and specific to the mining sector.
“I urge mining operators that have chosen the DRC for their businesses, to respect the laws in place, in particular with regards to their commitment to the local communities,” she commented.
Recently appointed to the position, Kalambayi is the country’s first female mining minister. She pointed out that her ministry’s political agenda is based on five key pillars. These are the certification of mineral resources; the valuation of mining assets in the country; the fight against fraud in the sector; the eradication of child and pregnant women labour at artisanal mining sites; and adding value to the country’s mining products through beneficiation.
She added that the government is intent on creating a better business climate not only through cooperation between all stakeholders but also through bilateral relationships with all neighbouring countries and through the active participation of the DRC in international, regional and sub-regional organisations such as SADEC and the Kimberly process.
Investors seeking reassurance
The keynote topic stemmed from the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies for 2020 that continues to highlight the industry’s negative investment and ease-of-doing business perception in the DRC. Commenting on the topic, Watum said that the DRC needs to reassure investors by establishing a regulatory framework that is stable and transparent. “Also, we need to strengthen the mining administration. Therefore, I really support the sharing programme between the administration and mining companies so that there is a better understanding of what each party does and this will create a climate that will reassure investors,” he added.
Weighing in on the topic of financing, particularly for junior miners, Opese stated that it is important for banks to understand the risk factors in the country in order to put in place funding structures that will be adaptable to the needs of the mining value chain and juniors in the country.
Meanwhile, Lord Popat explained that the DRC holds tremendous potential for UK investors, particularly in light of Brexit. “I encourage UK businesses to start or join trade missions and participate in events such as DRC Mining Week to gain useful insights that will help make informed business decisions,” he stated.
Rounding up the discussion, Wameso said that the new government has already started implementing targeted reforms that will make the country more investment-friendly. “Our president wants to put Congolese mines at the centre of the development of the country. Therefore, there needs to be a foundation that enables the mining sector to live up to its potential. This foundation is built on peace, security, good governance and the fight against corruption,” he concluded.
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DRC Mining Week Online is a two-day digital gathering of the DRC local and international audience aimed at sharing and highlighting the key themes driving the country’s mining industry in 2021. All of this in anticipation of a live event conference and expo in October this year. To register on the DRC Mining Week digital platform, click here.
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