Democratic Republic of the Congo: Conflict - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:18 am on 8th December 2022.

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Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 11:18 am, 8th December 2022

My Lords, the noble Baroness is absolutely right to identify corruption as a major problem in the DRC: it is estimated to cost the country some 10% of its annual GDP. Illicit exploitation of natural resources and smuggling to neighbouring countries is a big part of that, particularly deeply rooted in the eastern DRC: it is estimated at around $1.25 billion per year; that is 2.5% of the country’s GDP just for the natural resource exploitation. Gold is the easiest and most lucrative to smuggle and the rate of this is increasing; it increased dramatically over the last year. So, of course, we strongly condemn the actions of any company, in particular companies based here in the UK, that in any way contribute to the further corruption of already fragile systems, with massive repercussions for the future development of that country and the future peace, security and prosperity of its people.