Congo admitted to EITI resource transparency initiative - By: Reuters
KINSHASA - The Democratic Republic of Congo has earned full membership to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the global organisation promoting good management of oil, gas and mineral resources, the group said on Wednesday.
The decision comes little more than a year after Congo, then a candidate country, was suspended from the organisation over its failure to fully disclose revenues in its mining sector.
EITI - which includes governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organisations - encourages transparency by tallying up revenues declared by States and comparing them with payments declared by mining operators.
Congo possesses enormous mineral wealth with deposits of gold, diamonds, copper, cobalt and tin estimated to be worth trillions of dollars.
However, cyclical violence in the country's eastern borderlands coupled with decades of corruption and mismanagement - particularly in the mining sector - mean that the vast majority of its 65-million citizens live in extreme poverty.
In one high-profile instance, anti-corruption campaigners claim that between 2010 and 2012, Dan Gertler, an Israeli billionaire investor and friend of Congolese President Joseph Kabila, benefited from a series of underpriced mining deals.
The Africa Progress Panel says these deals cost the Congolese State $1.36-billion. Gertler has consistently denied any corruption was involved in the transactions.
"The next step for Congo is to reveal the ultimate owners of its mining and oil concessions, which are often held anonymously through offshore companies," said Nathaniel Dyer from London-based anti-corruption campaigners Global Witness.
Congo was ranked 154 of 177 countries in Transparency International's 2013 corruption perception index.