Barter arrangements: Democratic Republic of the Congo

The 2010 EITI Report from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) documented lack of transparency around a joint venture agreement between a group of Chinese and Congolese companies.

Barter arrangements include agreements that involve the provision of goods and services in full or partial exchange for oil, gas or mining concessions, or physical delivery of such commodities.

The joint venture (JV) – La Sino-Congolaise des Mines (SICOMINES) – brings together the Government of the DRC represented by Gécamines, and the Government of China, represented by the Consortium of Chinese companies, holding a 32 % and 68% stake respectively in the project. The JV is funded by EXIM BANK and focuses on two projects: the construction of infrastructure in the DRC and the development of a mining project in Katanga to ensure the financing of this infrastructure. Total investment amounted to USD 3.25 billion. The agreement has a complex structure, involving multiple significant transactions, and the EITI Report documents considerable misunderstanding of the nature of the project, the terms attached and the benefits for DRC.

The 2010 EITI Report recommended that EITI DRC should intensify its effort to obtain and disclose all figures related to the various transactions associated with the Chinese contract.

Since then, EITI reporting has served as a tool for the public to monitor the execution of the agreement. Subsequent reports have disclosed progress with building the infrastructure foreseen in the agreement, and the value of such work, including estimated completion dates for the various infrastructure projects. It has also enabled tracking expenditures against the agreed investments. To increase public awareness, meetings have been organised for civil society, media, MPs, ministers and other stakeholders to publicly debate the project and learn about the details.