BBC Video report: After decades of civil war, the Democratic Republic of Congo is about to sign an agreement with China who will provide $9 billion worth of investment in rebuilding infrastructure in exchange for the country’s natural resources, the largest deal of its kind in Africa.
Due to be signed in Beijing in the next few days, it gives DR Congo $6bn of desperately needed infrastructure – about 2,400 miles of road, 2,000 miles of railway, 32 hospitals, 145 health centres and two universities.
In return, China gets a slice of DR Congo’s precious natural resources to feed its booming industries – 10m tonnes of copper and 400,000 tonnes of cobalt.
The fine print of the deal was negotiated over two months in Beijing by Paul Fortin, a corporate lawyer based in Monaco who now runs DR Congo’s state-owned copper and cobalt mining company, Gecamines.
He clinched it by finding a mine – in Kolwezi, in the southern copper belt province of Katanga – that had enough proven reserves to persuade the Chinese that it was financially safe for them to begin disbursing a first tranche of money for infrastructure projects – about $3bn – right away.