Banro and I finally have had to part company. It was a substantial investment and I had great hopes. The numbers were all there. The management met their deadlines, didn't overpromise and seemed to be really trying to give back to the community. But good intentions can't fight these odds. It still may work and I sincerely hope all that stay with it make heaps and heaps of money.
The concerns have just become overwhelming:
- marauding gangs all across the eastern DRC raping and pillaging
- an election that didn't quite make the grade
- the death of the mining liaison/presidential right hand in a plane crash
- explosions and evacuation of capital
- new cholera epidemic
Col. Felix Kulayigye, the spokesman for the Ugandan army, told The Associated Press last week that Allied Democratic Forces rebels were conducting military drills in three camps in eastern Congo, where the Congolese national army has no reach. Kulayigye says the drills are being conducted 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the border.
The eastern DRC, largely comprising the provinces of South and North Kivu, has become internationally notorious for atrocities, mass rapes and other forms of sexual violence against women and men, child soldiers, child labour and prostitution, abductions, extortion, illegal mining, exploitation and official corruption on an industrial scale. Government authority is all but non-existent. Too often, the law of the jungle rules the jungle and force is all.
And now we have the review of the mining act:
- The review process, now under way, will automatically result in a review of contracts, he claimed. It will also allow the DRC government to scrap tax holidays and concessions granted to mining companies at the end of the country’s civil war in 2003. The administration also wants to push through a minimum 35% government ownership threshold for future mining projects.
"African countries will be starting from a position of strength. Global needs are enormous, they (investors) will be obliged to buy, and if not we'll keep our minerals, no problem. We're going to do our code and those who want to buy can buy."
And all this in the last few months! Dilution, taxes, civil unrest and cholera! Goodbye Banro!