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Oct 14, 2021

The world economy demands clean energy and cheap commodities and these are being extracted at a furious rate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

So the DRC is benefiting from all this activity, right?

Though extremely rich in natural resources, thanks to political instability plus a centuries-long legacy of commercial and colonial resource extraction, the value mainly accrues to the country's east and west, where corporations and governments benefit the most.

Joining the show to discuss are Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute, who describes how Western investors like university pension funds and corporations profit from oil palm plantations where human rights violations and environmental abuses are common.

Then Christian-Geraud Neema Byamungu, a Congolese researcher who focuses on natural resource governance, tells us about how the growing demand for cobalt to make electric-car batteries has led to increased mining, the Chinese companies that dominate the DRC's mines, and why the contracts between those companies and the DRC are being called into question.

Further reading:

• ”As energy needs drive demand for minerals, forests face greater threats”
• ”Pension and endowment funds linked to conflict-plagued oil palm in DRC”

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Episode artwork: palm oil production in Yalifombo village © Oskar Epelde via Oakland Institute.
 
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