‘Blood minerals’: What are the hidden costs of the EU-Rwanda supply deal? – by Lorraine Mallinder (Al Jazeera – May 2, 2024)


EU plans to secure supplies for green revolution from Rwanda are likely to support smuggling of conflict minerals from DR Congo.

As the green revolution revs up, the European Union has signed a deal with Rwanda that will ensure a supply of precious minerals needed to build clean tech like solar panels and electric vehicles. What’s not to like? As the European Commission described it, after inking a Memorandum of Understanding back in February, the deal will “nurture sustainable and resilient value chains for critical raw materials”.

But all is not as it seems. It turns out that Rwanda is a country that exports more than it mines. Vast amounts of minerals like coltan and gold are smuggled from the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo to Rwanda, where they enter global supply chains.

The racket has been extensively documented by United Nations experts reporting on the DRC war – a spillover from the Rwandan genocide, which has dragged on nearly three decades, the outside world largely ignorant of the widespread use of rape to subjugate enemies and the massacres that have killed a staggering six million people.

The DRC says M23 rebels, who claim they are protecting local Tutsis from Hutu genocidaires in the resource-rich east, play an instrumental role in moving the goods over Lake Kivu. The DRC accuses Rwanda of backing the M23 – an allegation Rwanda has consistently denied.

For the rest of this article: https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/features/2024/5/2/blood-minerals-what-are-the-hidden-costs-of-the-eu-rwanda-supply-deal