The Republic of Congo (“Congo-Brazzaville”) has authorized the ratification of the cooperation agreement of September 9, 2010, with the Republic of Angola in the area of mining and geology, by Law No. 17-2013 of August 13th, 20131.
Congo-Brazzaville shares its border with Angola in the South with the enclave of Cabinda which is characterized as the driving economic force of Angola. Both countries are known for their rich natural resources.
The cooperation agreement aims to reinforce economic relations between the two countries. Law 17-2013 is enacted just a few months after the law ratifying a bilateral agreement between both countries on mutual promotion and protection of investments2.
The cooperation agreement in the mining sectors covers diamond and various other sectors. For the diamond sector, the bilateral cooperation notably aims to: carry out joint actions in defense of common interests in the Kimberley process and the African Diamonds Producers Association (“ADPA”); harmonize tax legislation in commercialization and fight against illicit traffic; assist each other in the development of technical and economic studies to implement and evaluate joint investment projects; exchange geological data between the two countries; exchange information on regulation of diamond cutting factories; or undertake other actions of common interest when circumstances require it.
Concerning other sectors, the cooperation notably seeks to: identify and implement joint projects of geological mapping; share professional experiences for the training of managers of mining and geology administrations; assist each other and cooperate in the processing and interpretation of available geological data to assess the mining potential and identify joint projects. Moreover, the purpose is to carry out joint mining exploitation projects; or promote national policies for local transformation of all mineral substances.
In many African countries, the local transformation of mineral substances is a crucial issue. Indeed, these countries need to diversify their economy which relied too much on natural resources’ revenues (raw materials) and to maximize local added value by locally transforming mineral substances for the benefit of national economy.
The cooperation agreement is concluded for a period of three years, automatically renewable for similar periods. A technical monitoring committee composed of representatives of both parties is in charge to assess the agreement. The activities resulting from the implementation of the agreement will be financed by funds from the contracting parties as well as those from multilateral cooperation.
Cooperation between Congo-Brazzaville and Angola in the field of mining and geology will help both countries to improve knowledge of their sub-soil, notably in areas located between the enclave of Cabinda and the Congolese city of Pointe-Noire. Deposits, such as diamond and potash, have already been identified in those areas although still little is known. Cooperation will then improve the availability of geological data which leads to greater interest of mining operators and puts the host country in a better position for exploration and exploitation activities.