Getting started – CSR in the DRC

Initiating CSR In The DRC

Companies operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo have widespread opportunities to bring improvements to local communities through a well-managed CSR strategy.

CSR in the DRC - Step I:

Any Canadian company planning to do business in the DRC should start by contacting The Embassy of Canada to the Democratic Republic of Congo, part of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

The Embassy is there to support inquiries regarding the assessment of market potential, finding qualified contacts for this market, resolving business problems and arranging a meeting with one of their officers. This applies to local contacts required for the CSR elements of operational strategy.

Canadian Embassy

Street address:
17, Pumbu Avenue, Gombe Commune, Kinshasa
Democratic Republic of Congo

Postal address: The Embassy of Canada
P.O. Box 8341 Kinshasa 1
Democratic Republic of Congo

Tel: (243) 89-895-0310/0311/0312
Fax: (243) 99-997-5403 or 81-301-6515
Email: knsha@international.gc.ca
Website: CanadaInternational.gc.ca

Managing contacts through the Canadian Embassy will ensure that one is directed to the appropriate DRC governmental contacts.

CSR in the DRC - Step II

The next step is to assemble additional research and support on the ground. Local level knowledge is critical to assembling a sensitive and effective CSR strategy. A wide range of CSOs and NGOs can be of assistance at this stage. Some operate as international bodies, such as the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), and some operate on a national level as an independent body, or a network of local organizations.

There are also strictly local level organizations, particularly regional labor unions and organizations centred around a specific aspect of the environment. Critical to this step is establishing the local stakeholders and how to include them in consultative efforts.

The EITI, an initiative supported by 42 of the largest extractive companies and over 300 NGOs, requires all member companies to make material disclosures regarding payments to governments (broken link). (Click here (broken link) for the English summary of EITI member requirements for companies.)

In addition, companies are required to submit a self-assessment, summarizing their level of support and public declaration of intentions to abide by EITI guidelines.

Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI)

Contact: National EITI Coordinator
Tel: (243) 99-993-7373
Email: mack.dumba@itierdc.org

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CSR Recommendations & Guidelines

South African Resource Watch is an NGO and partner of the EITI. It is currently conducting a study entitled “South African mining and gas companies corporate governance in South African Developing Countries.” The following issues are among the suggestions listed for national corporate entities to address in their CSR strategies:

  • Working conditions
  • HIV and AIDS programs
  • Gender issues
  • Environmental degradation: desertification and pollution
  • Consultation mechanisms with local stakeholders and communities
  • Application of environmental and social standards, and overall project performance
  • Beneficiation policies and the actual practice on the ground

Research Contact DRC

Contact: Dr. Joseph K. Yav, University of Lubumbashi - DRC
Tel: (243) 99-702-1758
Email: joyav22@yahoo.fr
Website: JoseYav.com (broken link)

The Coalition for a Sustainable Africa has defined a five-principle list to guide operations.

The African Institute for Corporate Citizenship has made an extensive Guide to Corporate Human Rights Impact Assessment Tools (broken link).

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NGO Partnerships

NGO Partnerships can facilitate the development of a CSR strategy. Banro Gold, for example, works in partnership with CARE, a global humanitarian organization focused on poverty eradication. CARE has proposed using the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals to focus Banro's community development efforts, with the goal of creating long-term sustainable economic and social benefits for these communities. A partner at this level can help develop a needs assessment for the community and aid in creating the action plan to meet these needs.

CSR Project – Examples

With so many social and economic issues that need addressing in the DRC, it can be difficult to decide which to include in a CSR program. A few projects already in progress are described below. Different companies take different approaches with these projects: some manage them directly under a corporate banner, while others choose to set up foundations for each mining location. The formal structure of the funding mechanism is an important element to consider.

1- Infrastructure

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is heavily lacking in infrastructure: roads are not maintained or constructed, transportation systems are minimal and the electric grid is unreliable. Addressing these issues can be a foundational area of a CSR plan, given the importance of infrastructure to operation.

Consider the investments undertaken by Anvil Mining:

$5 million of financing assistance to the DRC electricity company, SNEL, to be amortized against Anvil's power usage at Kinsevere site

$200,000 towards the necessary upgrading of the Luano Airport at Lubumbashi to improve the transportation network of the Katanga province

Over $12 million to refurbish the National Road #5 between Kilwa and Kasemeno over a distance of 192 km.

2- Food Shortage

The DRC is a fertile land and has enjoyed a successful history with agriculture, exporting many crops to other African nations. Because of a labour decline in the agricultural sector in recent years, however, due to workers moving into the more profitable extractive sector, the result is food shortages and food insecurity.

Despite adequate conditions for farming - enough to provide food for its entire population - the lack of capital and extreme poverty has left the Congolese unable to support this industry.

First Quantum Minerals, at its Guelb mine location, has set up programs to address the food shortage issues in the local community. First Quantum Minerals has:

Funded the construction of shade houses to grow vegetables

Provided water pumps and pipes to local farming cooperatives to enable irrigation in the Akjoujt wadis

Provided water bladders in parts of Akjoujt town, one lacking a reticulated water system

3- Education

The education system lacks the necessary physical and human resources to operate. Many children do not attend school because their parents cannot pay the tuition, which covers teachers' salaries. Gross enrollment is estimated at 50%, a figure which does not reflect actual attendance.

A common resolution to this issue is to build and invest in the maintenance of a local school.

In Saramabila, a secondary school was recently designed and built by the Banro Foundation to serve 300 students.

Before undertaking education-related projects, however, it is important to consult with local DRC government to ensure all system requirements are met.

4- HIV/AIDS

In South Africa, Anglovaal Mining Ltd. conducted a study on the methodology for an HIV/AIDS program. The program was developed in response to the high level of HIV among employees: 14% in 2002.

The report, co-produced by the World Economic Forum, reveals the complex range of issues that need to be addressed in the process of program development, from providing anonymous employee testing to the economic case for the employer's provision of HIV prevention.

Read the full details about the study on the methodology for an HIV/AIDS program here.

5- Gender Issues

Rape has become the weapon of choice for militias engaged in civil war to terrorize people out of their lands and create divisions within the communities. A report detailing the issue was recently released by The Genocide Prevention Group called "Rape in the Congo: Canada, Where are you?"

The Stephen Lewis Foundation has allocated $300,000 to the Panzi Hospital in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to increase its capacity to treat women who have been raped.

Pledging funding to an organization such as the Panzi Hospital or establishing a similar undertaking are options to address this ongoing issue.

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