This is a report on Sicomines, the Sino-Congolese joint venture created following the cooperation agreement between Kinshasa and Chinese companies in 2008. This document has been prepared by a consultant commissioned by the ‘EITI, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. This is still a preliminary report, but has been sent to all parties for comment. What was then announced as the turn of the century contract would in fact constitute “an unsurpassed damage in the history of the Congo”.
Six billion dollars in loans, half of which to build infrastructure, which would be repaid through the exploitation of raw materials. It was the promise of what is known as the Sino-Congolese Convention at the Origin of the Creation of Sicomines, but to believe this still preliminary report from the EITI, this agreement was unfavorable in more ways than one. For the Congolese part.
First, at the capital level: while the Democratic Republic of Congo provides most of the assets of this joint venture in the form of mining deposits, it holds only 32% of the shares. In addition, the feasibility study conducted by the Chinese largely examined the reserves for these deposits, which further exacerbates the damage.
Even worse, in 2017, when Joseph Kabila was about to leave power, a fourth rider was signed to the convention. A secret profit agreement that not even the Ministry of Mines knew existed. It prescribes the payment of dividends from the first year to the shareholders. However, it is because there was no question for the shareholders to receive dividends that this mega-group project had been exempted from paying customs duties and taxes.
Another scandal revealed by this report, of the three billion planned for infrastructure, less than one billion was actually paid by the Chinese side, and many projects that had been identified as priorities were never implemented.
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