The Long Shadows of Western Colonialism

by Andrea Colli, Full Professor at the Department of Social and Political Sciences

In May, this year, the newly elected President of the Democratic Republic of Congo paid visit to China, to renegotiate the terms of an agreement signed by the two states back in 2008. La Sino-Congolaise des Mines (Sicomines), thus the accord is named, is a sort of barter deal allowing China to mine rare earths (mainly cobalt), in exchange for a program of investment in the country. The lack of infrastructural investment in DRC is just one of the handicaps hobbling one of the richest, but also poorest countries on Earth. Today nearly two thirds of the Congolese, who are around 60 million in a country the size of Western Europe, lives on less than $2.15 a day. The ties between China and DRC go back to the country’s independence in 1960 and today China is Congo’s main trading partner. China enjoys a favorable view among an overwhelming percentage of the population in sub-Saharan Africa.


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