A grim history of secret mining deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has prevented the country’s mineral wealth from benefiting its 67 million citizens. But political initiatives and international engagement give hope that the DRC is moving more quickly towards greater transparency.
Transparency is critical, because it reduces the opportunities for corruption and improves accountability. The lack of transparency in the global extractives sector helps explain why – despite its impressive mineral wealth – the DRC has some of the world’s worst malnutrition levels, its sixth-highest child mortality rate, and over 7 million children out of school.
But efforts to increase transparency must also reach into the international financial system, which tolerates illicit financial flows and therefore has facilitated corruption and conflict in one of Africa’s most populous countries. Directly and indirectly, conflict in the DRC has killed millions.