Tribesmen changing Congo: one of Africa’s greatest comeback giant


Congo’s tribesman hunting Pygmies in the far reaches of the Jungle Photocredit:

This country is regarded as one of the next big story in Africa. It has been dubbed the land of endless opportunities. It is home to some of the world’s largest reserves of highly priced minerals like diamond, cobalt, copper and gold and everything in between. We are talking about Democratic Republic of Congo.

From home-grown mining operation in the south east region, to the mineral trade market in the capital Kinshasa and then onto the majestic rain-forest resources, a mega economic revival is on the horizon.

There is a generation taking responsibility and this makes huge difference in Central Africa’s history.

Following the First and Second Congo War, 1996 to 2003, all hope of rebuilding Congo seemed lost. But social cohesion along ethnic lines survived. It remains one of the unnoticed ‘driving engine’ behind Congo’s rising story in the 21st century.

Over 200 ethnic groups inhabit DRC Congo.

Though political power plays and mineral conflicts, among other things, led fellow countrymen to turn on each other for decades. There has been a gradual soul searching amongst war veterans in the last few years. Tribesmen now realize that armed conflict only serves one purpose, ‘foreigners will divide your inheritance.’

Congo’s emergency construction and rehabilitation project. Photocredit:

In the end, you have yourself to blame.

To change the country’s direction –  war veterans, tribesmen and the emerging younger population eager to rebuild the wasteful years turned to a home grown strategy to confront Congo’s 21st century instability.

Villagers are rebuilding provinces along ethnic association and commonwealth.

Congo boast an extensive mineral reserve worth at least $24 trillion. This will cover United States’ total annual spending for at least 6 years.  In 2016, US mandatory and non-discretionary spending is estimated to reach $3.45 trillion for the fiscal year.

But across Congo’s 20 provinces, with enormous natural wealth, excavating solid minerals have revived ethnic friendship and rural community sense of belonging. Congo laws provide unique rights to mineral trading to Congolese tribesmen – enriching brotherly bond. The people protect their new found wealth with unexplained joy.

This inspired Congo’s most vulnerable people to unique career opportunities in the mineral rich regions. For all of Congo’s flaws, small-scale mining and artisanal enterprise is a game changer. Though in its infancy,  global demand for rare minerals has inspired a network of low-tech, rural mining jobs.

Congo’s newly constructed Lubumbashi-Kindu railway in 2004. Photocredit: jobs.

From artisan diggers, blacksmiths, village middlemen to city traders and salesmen for foreign firms: thousands of jobs are created every year. But the great moments are coming.

With ethnic groups taking responsibility and tribesmen initiating peaceful trade and economic stability taking roots in the region: there is a generation that will confront poverty, mineral conflict and political instability head on.

In 2012, one Congolese Diamond trader, Gabriel Osombo, captured the mood uniquely in a BBC special, he said: “We have a business association with its own president, vice-president, secretary (that’s me) and we have our own security agents on the market. We control everything,” Mr Osombo said. “If a suspicious person comes to the market, if we see something is not right, our security agents will stop them and call the police.”

One thing they are not worried about is security, despite the dozens of diamonds being traded within easy reach of passers-by. This is a home grown solution to trading in some of the world’s most valued gems: cobalt, copper, diamond, tantalum, and tin and gold.

In time, the people and government institutions will mature.

In May 2016, it was reported that some province like South Kivu have doubled their revenue in a 5 year period, 2009 to 2014, as a result of Congolese government collaboration with international fund partners like World Bank.

Dedicated tribesmen understand that the time has come for them to grow

Congo’s Gabriel Osombo in the diamond trading market in the capital Kinshasa. Photocredit:

their community, through rural-urban mining companies, standard commodity market, transport infrastructure and home-grown economic branches like mining-related industrial plants and high-tech enterprise.

Should Congo tribesmen create a local strategy to bring in industry. For example, attract global mining powerhouses that will not just employ low-skilled Congolese but will set up mining-related industrial plants, then you are talking about millions of jobs in the coming months and years.

High-tech mining firms will revamp living conditions of the people. With a teeming population of over 75 million, thousands of global industrial plants mining gold, coltan, coal and cobalt will speed up DRC Congo’s development.

This is a region that could well become the world’s mineral mining capital. It has world’s largest reserves of coltan, a metallic mineral of industrial applications in electronic product manufacturing. Congo has large amounts of cobalt, tin, coal and copper.

How do you begin to exhaust these untapped minerals?

DRC Congo is made up of thick rain-forests, woodlands and open fields packed with breath-taking beauty. It has been said that at least half of Africa’s forest is in Congo. This country remains part of the Great lake region full of river system that can provide electricity for the entire African continent.

With a 21st century quick-thinking tribesmen, they can bring experts from around the world to help Congo’s comeback. Congo government can protect its home-grown entrepreneurs while carefully picking economic and industrial specialists from countries that lead sectors like mining, agriculture,  and manufacturing to help the country.

Congo can tackle internal political conflicts. They understand that foreigners will not divide their inheritance again. Strengthening ethnic bonds while reuniting the Bantu people, Hutu’s, Tutsi’s and other ethnic groups will be the enduring game changer.

National unity is key and their courage must rise with danger.







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