Updates from the ECI: Economic Development, Elections, Children Soldiers, and Gender Based Violence


In This Issue:


1 million

Estimated population in Goma

Hanging out with some cool people at @SustainBrands from
@Starbucks and @EasternCongo

Making history – Saveur du Kivu -@EqExCoop @svick @highergroundstc
@SpecialtyCoffee @twinfairtrade


Partly Cloudy

Details‘ from EasternCongo.org
Women’s media: knowledge and power 
The air in the Katana legal tribunal in South Kivu province reverberated with quiet tension. Mama Zawadi, leader of the Association of Women Journalists (AFEM) ‘rural radio club’ shuffled her papers, looked sternly at the panel before here, and concluded, “Now, I just need to know that you will look into addressing this injustice.” Then she waited. 

Mama Zawadi was asking the local leaders to invest and right an inheritance dispute. A female heir had been unfairly and illegally denied access to her land. The police sergeant, local chief and member of the secret police looked at each other and paused. “OK, OK,” Benjamin, the local chief relented. “Yes, we will address this.”

The Democratic Republic of Congo might break up its provinces. Then what? – Washington Post

Guy Grossman and Janet I. Lewis

Why does the creation of new regional governments happen, and why does it matter? Our research, along with others’ (see this book and this working paper) finds that new regions are often created as a consequence of political bargains between national elites and marginalized local groups – those with relatively limited political representation and access to services, such as health care, schools, and roads.


We find that citizens and leaders in marginalized areas are most likely to lobby national elites for the creation of new regional governments. Voters in areas granted a new regional government give national leaders a significant electoral boost in elections that follow the old region’s split.
Podcast: Elisabeth Caesens on mining in the Congo (Part II): Katumbi and the battle over a new mining code – Congo Siasa

Jason K. Stearns
This is part II of our podcast with Elisabeth Caesens, an advisor to the Carter Center and the former head of their mining governance program in the Congo. This part discusses Governor Moise Katumbi and the battle between companies and the government over a new mining code.

Economic Development
IMF says Congo economy set to grow 9.2 pct in 2015 –Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo’s economy is set to expand 9.2 percent this year, one of the fastest growth rates in the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday, revising a previous estimate of 9.1 percent.

Matina Stevis
European and U.S. companies are participating in the multimillion-dollar trade of illegally logged timber from the Democratic Republic of Congo, breaking not just Congolese but also European Union and U.S. laws, an advocacy group report said Wednesday.
The report by Global Witness adds timber to diamonds, gold and other natural resources that are abundant in Congo and, according to international human-rights organizations-including Global Witness, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, among others-are often illegally extracted and exported from the large central African nation.
Petrol suppliers in Congo mining hub strike over tax increase – Reuters


Petrol suppliers in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s mining hub of Katanga province went on strike on Thursday morning to protest a recent fuel tax hike, local residents said.
UK development finance arm accused of bankrolling ‘agro-colonialism’ in Congo – The Guardian

John Vidal

…local and international human rights groups argue in a new report that the British government’s use of more than £14m of public funds to back what campaigners say is a failing company that paid workers as little as $1 a day to work and live in harsh tropical conditions was inappropriate.


Government-backed investment funds have a legal mandate to support poverty alleviation in developing countries, and they must operate according to strict policies that prevent them from investing in companies that grab land, violate labour rights or engage in corrupt practices.


“Workers are living in crumbling homes, in severe disrepair. There is malnutrition in the communities near the plantations,” said Jean-François Mombia Atuku, a campaigner with RIAO-RDC, a Congolese NGO that has co-written the report with European land rights organisation Grain.

Congo opposition splits threaten first peaceful power transfer – Reuters

Aaron Ross

Personal ambition and dissent within Democratic Republic of Congo’s largest opposition party could offer President Joseph Kabila a chance to hang onto power when his term ends, threatening the nation’s first peaceful transition.
IMF urges tax reform to help pay for DR Congo elections –AFP

The International Monetary Fund has urged leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo to reform their tax system as part of efforts to pay for costly upcoming elections.

In order to boost its revenues DR Congo needs to “implement without delays” an overhaul of its tax administration, including more robust collection and stronger customs enforcement, the IMF said in a statement Thursday.

Conflict & Child Soldiers
Congo forces arrest suspected leader of Goma airport attack – Reuters

Aaron Ross
Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have captured the man suspected of being behind a deadly attack this week on the largest airport in the east of the country, the government’s spokesman said on Wednesday.UN Attack Helicopters Support Congo Fight Against Ituri Rebels – Bloomberg

Michael Kavanagh

United Nations attack helicopters are backing the Democratic Republic of Congo’s army in its push to eradicate a rebel threat in northeast Congo, the UN said.
Attacks against the Force for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri, or FRPI, began in the village of Aveba in the Ituri district of Orientale province June 3, the UN mission in Congo said in a statement e-mailedThursday.

Gender-Based Violence
DR Congo court jails 46 civilians for sex crimes – AFP


A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has sentenced 46 civilians to up to 15 years in jail for sexual offences after a mass trial, a judicial source said Thursday.


The sentences were the result of a three-week public hearing held outside the courthouse in Bunia, a city in the violence-ridden northeastern region of Ituri.

ECI in the News
Party under the space shuttle – AOPA
Julie Summers Walker

…Also receiving an Inspiration Award was the team of Steve Terry, CEO of Tempus Jets, and actor Ben Affleck, who brought together Global Flight Relief and the eastern Congo Initiative to airlift cargo and personnel in war-torn Eastern Congo.

ECI Partners in the News
Musical Ambassador Update – Run Across Congo

“In the past few days we have connected with the hearts and minds of local artists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Lemera, we created youth inspired music that spoke of the communities hope for a better life through the successful farming of coffee. They also composed a passionate ballad that carried a collective dream for a country where people work together to solve its problems ‘Polepole tu ta shinda’ (Slowly we can work together and win).


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