In the presence of two heads of state, a Congolese company, the Société aurifère du Kivu et du Maniema (Sakima SA) and a Rwandan, Dither LTD, signed “a memorandum of understanding of cooperation” for the exploitation of gold in order to deprive armed groups of income from this sector, according to a statement from the Congolese presidency.
“There will be complementarity between the two companies which will therefore control the value chain from extraction by the Congolese company Sakima and refining by the Rwandan company Dither SA”, a communications officer in the Congolese presidency told AFP.
“Armed groups that derive income to finance the war with gold will no longer be able to afford to mine or resell to buyers in international markets,” he stressed.
The second agreement concerns “the promotion and protection of investments” and the third is a convention “with a view to avoiding double taxation and preventing fiscal evasion with respect to taxes and income”, according to the Congolese presidency.
“We have wasted so many years looking at each other without acting. We are only at the beginning, we will continue to expand our actions”, said Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi at a joint press conference with his counterpart Paul Kagame in Goma.
“Rwanda is committed to making efforts, in collaboration with the DRC in respect of its sovereignty”, replied President Kagame to a question about his country’s contribution to the efforts to restore peace, especially in the Congolese province of North Kivu where a state of siege has been declared to put an end to the activities of local armed groups and foreigners.
Relations between the DRC and Rwanda have always been difficult.
The DRC experienced two wars between 1996-97 and 1998-2003, which deeply destabilized the Kivus, a Congolese border region. These conflicts have involved numerous militias and armies from several neighboring countries, particularly Rwanda.
Since then, the DRC has regularly accused its neighbor of destabilizing its eastern part by supporting armed groups. But, since the election of the former opponent Tshisekedi, a climate of relaxation has set in.