Experts impressed by Rwanda move on ‘conflict minerals’

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Experts impressed by Rwanda

Rwanda has become the first country in Africa’s Great Lakes region to issue a certificate verifying that their minerals are not fueling war and contributing to human rights violations.

Rwanda issued the ICGLR Mineral Export Certificate on November 5, ahead of the sixth edition of the Summit on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains. The certification is part of Rwanda’s implementation of the regional certification mechanism of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)-a political body comprised of 12 countries in Eastern and Central Africa.

Leading international organization and experts working in the conflict free mineral sector said that Rwanda has made a crucial move which adds a vote of confidence to the Rwanda government today.

Joanne Lebert, Program Director for the Great Lakes Programme at Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), said that the move is impressive and it’s an important first step toward strengthening the legal trade of valuable African minerals,

“It’s also a crucial step towards giving international consumers added confidence that their purchase of everyday technology products that contain these minerals are not contributing to armed conflict,” Lebert said.

Kigali hosted the 6th Responsible Mineral Supply Chains summit organised by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the UN Group of Experts on DR Congo.

At the four-day summit, which was a platform for debate among countries involved in conflict mineral, Rwanda’s Minister for Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, said the forum will help participants to understand Rwanda’s mining sector better and also interact with first hand actors in the process of implementing international guidelines, such as the ITSCi Mineral Tagging and Traceability Scheme.

Rwanda depends on mineral exports but its major mineral exports- cassiterite, wolframite, and tantalum, have been affected after the July 2010, announcement by US President Barack Obama to have a required American electronic companies to verify all mineral sources- this saw a drop 5.9% to $32m in 2011 mineral revenues.

However, Rwanda’s mineral revenues have also improved significantly in recent years, after the implemented mineral tagging and traceability scheme, known as ITSCi-initiated by London-based International Tin Research Institute (ITRI)- which has seen an improvement in minerals proceeds fetching $136.6m (about Rwf86.7 billion) last year.

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Olive Ndaka is the Junior Editor for RwandaEye. An investor and young entrepreneur, she is a quick learner and has contributed many articles for RwandaEye in Kinyarwanda.

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