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EITI report shows the peak of the iceberg

March 26, 2010

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, recently published its first report on the DRC. According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, who audited the figures, there were discrepancies amounting to $75 million within the oil sector. That´s not a surprise for anyone who knows the degrees of corruption ravaging Congolese society (it rather looks like a low figure to me – by the way, after the crisis we have learned that PWC may be as trustworthy as an average Congolese minister).

“In some cases companies said they paid more than an individual agency said it received and in some cases agencies received more than companies paid”, says the dispatch. This messy sentence helps us imagine the size of the mess the EITI  report copes with. Congolese politicians asking a higher and higher percentage under the table… while their fellow citizens live in misery. Of course, not only politicians but foreign companies are to be blamed. “If I refuse to bribe him, my rival company will” is generally one of the thoughts feeding bad governance.

The problem of corruption in the DRC is sociological, strongly rooted, and it will need decades to be erradicated. I loved this sentence in a report on mining in the DRC released by LSE last year:

Generations of mismanagement and the arbitrary use of state power for personal or communal gain have left deep scars on Congolese society and a particular individualistic logic to economic and political relations.

That´s it.

If everyone around you steals (or “moves things from one place to another” as Mobutu said),  avoiding doing it is not decent, but something close to heroic. Fortunately, there are heroes in the DRC, like anywhere else in the world, and they are reasons for hope.

To read the EITI report, click here.

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