Copper mine in DR Congo

Core area “Sustainable economic development, training and employment” Using the country’s wealth of natural resources for sustainable development

Although mining is one of the most important sources of income of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, little has been done until now to harness its potential for inclusive and human rights-compliant economic and social development of the country. That is why the BMZ is supporting the DR Congo in its efforts to promote transparency in the mining sector, create alternative sources of employment for the people, raise awareness for the importance of human rights, environmental and social standards and integrate certification systems for mines and companies along the supply chain.

The mining sector is not only the biggest employer in the eastern and south-eastern region of the DR Congo. It is also one of the main drivers of conflict in the country. Some of the more than 120 rebel groups active in Eastern Congo raise funds by smuggling resources, in particular gold. Severe human rights violations (forced and child labour, human trafficking, displacement, sexual violence) are common in illegal trade and also in mostly informal small-scale mining.

Hundreds of thousands of people extract mineral resources using the simplest of means – often just their bare hands – under dangerous conditions and without official employment contract. The survival of many families depends on the income from this work (see also: economic situation).

The multinational mining companies active in the DR Congo have so far created very few jobs in industrial mining for local people; local companies have no access to international markets.

German activities

The BMZ is focusing its efforts on promoting the transparent, peaceful, sustainable and development-oriented use of the country’s mineral resources. The aim is to use the strong international demand for ethically sourced resources to establish and expand local value chains and thus link demand to development policy goals. The revenue from resource extraction and trade is to create benefits for the Congolese population.

German development cooperation activities cover the following areas:

  • Supporting mining cooperatives in introducing and documenting environmental and social standards in artisanal mining
  • Developing ethical production and supply chains, for instance with the help of certification systems, in particular for tin, tantalum, tungsten and cobalt, which are a known as conflict minerals; containing conflict financing
  • Supporting local administrations to enable them to use revenue from mining efficiently for sustainable and participatory local development
  • Strengthening civil society to enable it to defend the rights of the people, in particular women, within communities and fulfil its oversight and monitoring role.
  • Participation by the public and private sectors and civil society in dialogues on mining aimed at promoting a balance of interests
  • Promoting practice-oriented training in the mining sector, knowledge sharing through cooperation with Congolese universities
  • Strengthening Congolese businesses in the supply sector, integrating the industrial mining sector into the local economy, promoting cooperation between international mining companies and small-scale Congolese enterprises

GIZ and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) are responsible for the implementation of these activities.

Financial sector development

In its development cooperation work Germany also supports efforts to strengthen the financial system in order to boost sustainable development. On behalf of the BMZ, KfW is supporting a dedicated financial inclusion fund, the aim being to facilitate access to credit for micro, small and medium enterprises and low-income households.

As at: 19/07/2023