Mineral trade

ASM as factor for economic integration and security in the African Great Lakes region

This research is carried out by Christian Bahala

Our fact-finding mission was aimed at finding out to what extent artisanal mining as well as the cross-border trade  can be a vehicle for bringing together the populations of the different countries of the Great Lakes region. Artisanal mining could thus help in dealing with the major interconnected challenges in the region, which include poverty, insecurity and armed conflicts. Looking at artisanal mining from this perspective involved taking into account empirical realities in the region. In the field, the main question was to verify and ascertain to what extent the miners and traders in the different countries are already involved in cross-border trade; which could set the stage for an “integration from the bottom”. Our very limited material and financial resources made us focus on mining sites located in the South Kivu (Kalehe and Idjwi); mainly because of its social, economic and cultural relations with Rwanda as well as the presence of a workforce of diggers of Rwandan origin.