The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has cautioned Kenya not to follow its footsteps when developing the mining industry.
A senior government official from DRC said his country’s failures in managing its minerals should offer lessons to Kenya on the minefields to avoid for the industry to make meaningful contribution to the economy.
Minister of State in Charge of the Budget Pierre Mbayi said Kenya should take charge of the industry and particularly ensure that it keeps multinationals that are working in the country in check to avoid the natural resource curse.
Mbayi, who spoke in Nairobi, said that failure by DRC to establish mechanisms to ensure that its people and economy gained from the natural resources had over the years resulted in the creation of foreign billionaires, while the local people have remained poor.
“After all these years, the multinationals have been the clear winners while the minerals have not had any impact on the country,” he said.
“There are areas that were exploited and were then bustling with activity but because the community and the regions were not factored, once the mines dried up, the investors left and these are now ghost towns.
“We want to change the law so that the proceeds from mining can be beneficial to everybody.”
Mr Mbayi was in Nairobi to attend a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development meeting on illegal exploitation of natural resources.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that illicit trade in minerals is valued at between Sh5 trillion and Sh7 trillion.
Most of the illegal trade is thought to be in Central Africa region, with DRC – which is endowed with resources such as gold, diamonds, copper and uraniu, – being at the heart of the dealings.