On Tuesday, April 16, John Prendergast, Co-founder the Enough Project, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs on the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The panel of experts that also included Mvemba Dizolele, Strategy and Advocacy Fellow for Eastern Congo Initiative, Father Ferdinand Muhigirwa, Director of Centre d’Etudes pour l’Action Sociale, and Frederico Borello, Director of Investments at Humanity United, provided recommendations to Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) about how the United States government can be involved in ending the conflict in the Kivu provinces.
“As a country with close relationships with all regional players and substantial international leverage, it is critical for the U.S. government to play a much more active role in the upcoming initiatives,” testified Prendergast. “This will require far greater attention from senior policymakers, a step-change in diplomatic engagement in the region, and concentrated focus on areas of U.S. leverage, especially efforts to transform the trade in natural resources from a driver of violence into a catalyst for regional peace.”
Father Muhigirwa was adamant about the need for U.S. support to electoral and mining sector reform, which was endorsed by the other panel members. Prendergast suggested that the U.S. government should provide policy and economic incentives for countries and companies that invest in responsible mining in Congo. The panel made it clear that economic growth, that will help both Congo and Rwanda, can be achieved through Congo’s mineral resources as long as there is sustainable and responsible investment. The U.S. has the capability to implement these recommendations and be a major player in creating lasting peace in Congo.
Photo: Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast; Credit: Enough Project