Rwanda: Is Trump’s Plan to Repeal Conflict Minerals Rule a Gift for Rwanda? – by Ivan R. Mugisha (All – February 21, 2017)

Rwanda is counting on US President Donald Trump coming good on his intention to suspend a law that bars companies from handling conflict minerals to save the country more than $4 million spent annually on compliance.

President Trump had throughout his campaign threatened to do away with the law, known as the Dodd Frank Act, which he argued restricted the growth of manufacturing in the US. The Dodd Frank Act was signed into law by his predecessor Barack Obama in 2010. The legislation was intended to safeguard stability in mineral-rich conflict- prone countries like those in the Great Lakes region, by ensuring that natural resources were not used to fund conflicts.

Last week, a leaked memorandum from the White House showed that President Trump had drafted an executive order suspending the Dodd Frank Act for two years.

In the order, he requested his administration to find an alternative law that does not infringe on the US manufacturing sector while also curbing the conflict mineral trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighbours.

Critics say that a suspension of the law will increase the possibility of instability in countries like DR Congo.

For Rwanda, however, it would mark the lifting of an unwanted legislation that has led to a sharp increase in the cost of mining and worsened the plight of rural artisanal miners.

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