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Centre of African Studies: Events


Natural resource management in the Congo

Natural resource management in the Congo: Pathways to innovative policy design
Speaker: Theodore Trefon # Royal Museum for Central Africa
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Date and Time
30th Mar 2016 16:00 - 30th Mar 2016 18:00
Hugh Robson Building Lecture Theatre, George Square

Congo has the natural resources the world needs. It counts in the fight against global climate change and because of its minerals, in the satisfaction of our craving for the latest high tech gadgets. Congo’s farmers could feed a billion people. The Inga Dam has the hydroelectric potential to light up all of Africa. These realities are redefining the country’s strategic contribution to a globalized world. But this resource potential is largely underestimated because conflict, violence and poor governance dominate academic analysis and policy design about the DRC. This narrow focus has created a knowledge gap about Congo’s rich natural resource base and how it can contribute to macro-economic, social and political change.

The main argument of the seminar is that the dominant approach to natural resource management and development - which today is sector specific; vertical opposed to integrated or horizontal - is no longer appropriate given emerging global dynamics. The seminar will help clarify why an integrated approach is necessary by (i) presenting an empirical overview of Congo’s five natural resource sectors - what do we know about these resources today and how have they been managed in the past (forests, land and agriculture, water, oil and minerals), (ii) analysing these sectors through a political economy framework (emphasizing concepts such as environmental governance, the resource curse, growth without development and patrimonialism) and (iii) identifying pathways for the opportunities and challenges to elaborate integrated management strategies for these resources (it is impossible to have a viable forest policy without making linkages to agriculture and energy, industrial mining needs hydropower and protected area management is threatened by oil exploration end artisanal mining activities).

This theme is the subject of a new book. Congo’s Environmental Paradox (available in May 2016).

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