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Democratic Republic of Congo: Natural Resources

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Democratic Republic of Congo on implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; and if he will make a statement. (320356)

Support for the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) forms a core part of our work to improve transparency in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). My noble Friend, the Minister for Africa, was in the country last month and spoke with Prime Minister Muzito about the need for economic development and the building of conditions which are conducive to business. He saw this as a priority and recognised that there is much work to be done.

Despite a slow start, EITI implementation in the DRC has recently been making considerable progress culminating in the publication of the first report on copper/cobalt and oil. Validation has started and there is reason to hope that the country's efforts will receive a largely positive reception from the International Secretariat in Oslo.

The Great Lakes Contact Group Taskforce on Mineral Exploitation had its first meeting in Kinshasa on 21 and 22 January 2010 with the Minister and Vice Minister for mines and representatives from the Ministries of Defence, the Interior and others, plus non-governmental organisations and Congolese commercial interests/industry attending. A draft text was agreed which included proposals on due diligence, legalisation of trade (Department for International Development Trading for Peace initiative), certification and financial infrastructure. The paper will now be presented to the DRC cabinet and capitals for final approval.