Millions of people have died in eastern Congo, in what is the world’s deadliest conflict since the second world war. Ending the Democratic Republic of the Congo‘s multiple conflicts is the single most important task in improving the lives of Congolese, making more lasting development possible and giving people a say in their own affairs. Trying to talk about economic development in eastern Congo without acknowledging this elephant in the room just doesn’t make sense.
It is indisputable that the illicit minerals trade in eastern Congo (minerals that ultimately end up in many of our personal electronics devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and digital cameras) remains one of the important factors fuelling the violence. Not only do an array of armed groups continue to clash to control respective mines, their stranglehold over minerals and the imposition of "taxes" on local populations and traders allows these militias to finance more weapons purchases, more violence and more corruption.
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Senior Fellow; Executive Director, Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative