The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) controls well over 60 per cent of the world’s total cobalt ore reserves. Congo is a mineral-rich country, which makes it a lucrative business destination for Chinese companies with links to the CCP. And China, being the neo-colonial country that it is, has been looting Congo with the help of the Central African nation’s corrupt bureaucracy.
However, China now stares at the prospect of being unceremoniously booted out of Congo, since President Felix Tshisekedi has now said that he has had enough of the Chinese.
According to the SCMP, President Felix Tshisekedi – the leader of Congo has pledged to review all previous deals which were negotiated between DRC and foreign mining companies before he took over office. Effectively, a review of such deals puts Chinese operations in Congo in jeopardy.
China uses coercion and bribery of the host country’s political leadership and bureaucracy in order to expand its footprint. The same seems to have happened in Congo, and now, the African nation is about to kick Xi Jinping’s minions out of its borders.
President Felix Tshisekedi wants to renegotiate lopsided contracts with mining companies that denied the Congolese people their fair share of benefits from the sale of their nation’s minerals. A significant share of Congo’s population continues to live in poverty, while China strips their country off its mineral resources.
As reported by SCMP, during a visit last week to the mining town of Kolwezi in Katanga province, where about 40 companies – 30 of them Chinese owned – have mining operations, Tshisekedi told the public it was time to redress the balance.
The leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo was quoted as saying, “I have really had enough. I am very severe with these investors who come to enrich themselves. They come with empty pockets and leave billionaires.” Tshisekedi also revealed that whatever little returns Congo receives from ill-negotiated deals with foreign mining companies, corrupt officials put in their own pockets.
It is abundantly clear that a slew of deals signed between Congo’s previous administration and Chinese mining companies stand a chance of being nullified by President Felix Tshisekedi. Such a nullification would turn China’s electric-vehicle industry upside down since cobalt is an essential component in the batteries used to power electric vehicles.
China hopes to soon become the leading manufacturer of electric vehicles in the world. Yet, being booted out of a country that controls over 60 per cent of the world’s cobalt ore reserves does not serve such Chinese purposes. Instead, it jeopardises Chinese dreams of electric vehicle hegemony, while also severely battering the communist nation’s smartphone, laptop and tablet industry.
China is the world’s biggest importer of cobalt, buying about 95,000 tonnes of ore every year. Since 2021, the paper dragon has pumped over $10 billion into the DRC. This shows just how desperate China is for procuring vast amounts of cobalt ore for itself.
TFI had reported last month how China’s debts and investments in the African continent have been turning sour. Chinese ambitions of colonising the continent too, as a consequence, are taking a massive drubbing. According to a study by the China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University, China’s lending to Africa dropped by nearly 30 per cent in 2019.
Within Africa, the anti-China sentiment has been rising for quite some time now. Not only is Chinese debt in Africa turning sour, but Chinese people too are being forced to leave the continent as locals cite fears of the paper dragon swallowing a tremendous quantum of jobs in the host countries.
China is slowly and steadily being made to realise that its African safari has no takers. What started as an ambitious expedition to colonise the African continent is turning into a horrifying nightmare for Beijing. Imagine pumping over $10 billion into a country and then being kicked out of it unceremoniously. That is precisely what is about to happen to China in Congo.