The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is working to transform itself from a producer to a processing country, according to Finance Minister Nicolas Kazadi. To achieve this goal, the government has signed a deal with the United Arab Emirates to buy all gold produced by the artisanal sector and is putting infrastructure in place to formalise the market. Most of Congo’s smuggled gold currently transits through Rwanda and Uganda before ending up in Dubai.
Why it matters
The Congolese government is also creating special economic zones that offer tax exemptions of 10 to 20 years to attract foreign investment. The first of these zones will be located on the outskirts of the capital Kinshasa and will be home to a Chinese tile company, Saphir Ceramics, as well as India’s Varun Beverages and a pharmaceutical manufacturer. The DRC imports $460 million in pharmaceutical products each year.
To further stimulate economic growth, the government is also amending its agriculture law to allow foreigners to be majority shareholders in farming projects, subject to certain conditions. The changes are expected to be implemented in the coming year.