Strategic Analysis: Russian Business Activity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Abstract)

Poten­tial­ly due to the risk/reward cal­cu­la­tions of becom­ing over­ly com­mit­ted to an unsta­ble DRC, it appears that Moscow has yet to estab­lish a robust eco­nom­ic or finan­cial pres­ence in the coun­try. With a lack of large-scale busi­ness engage­ment, the Russ­ian pres­ence appears to hinge around the fol­low­ing areas of coop­er­a­tion and engagement:

  1. the sale of weapons;
  1. the pres­ence of Russ­ian mil­i­tary per­son­nel in the DRC under the aus­pices of the UNs obser­va­tion or peace­keep­ing mission;
  1. an active Embassy pres­ence in Kin­shasa that has made an effort to enhance the avail­abil­i­ty of Russ­ian lan­guage train­ing cours­es and con­tin­ue the recruit­ment of DRC stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als to train­ing pro­grams in Rus­sia; and
  1. explorato­ry rela­tion­ships involv­ing cer­tain Russ­ian min­ing com­pa­nies, notably Alrosa, that are seek­ing to deter­mine the val­ue (i.e., cost/benefit cal­cu­la­tions) of oper­at­ing in the DRC


Excerpted Deals and Transactions:

  • Under its police train­ing pro­grams, in May 2013, the first group of five Con­golese police offi­cers trav­eled to Rus­sia for two months. From 2013 to 2014, four groups of Con­golese and a total of 20 police offi­cers com­plet­ed 2‑month train­ing stints in Rus­sia. In 2013, Rus­sia also offered police offi­cers from the DRC schol­ar­ships for 6‑year edu­ca­tions, designed to achieve a com­pre­hen­sive train­ing reg­i­men for high­ly qual­i­fied officers.
  • In Feb­ru­ary 2013, a course was launched at the Diplo­mat­ic Acad­e­my in Kin­shasa teach­ing the Russ­ian lan­guage. The class was joint­ly estab­lished as a result of work between the Diplo­mat­ic Acad­e­my of the DRC, the Russ­ian Embassy in the DRC (Kin­shasa) and the Russ­ian Fund for the Pro­mo­tion of Cul­ture also known as the Russkiy Mir Foun­da­tion (which report­ed­ly pro­vid­ed all the nec­es­sary mate­ri­als and equip­ment). In Decem­ber 2014, an event was held announc­ing the resump­tion of this class (which had been stopped for a short time) that was attend­ed by the Russ­ian Ambas­sador and a num­ber of oth­er DRC offi­cials.[1]
  • In 2008, it was report­ed that Alrosa CEO had met with Pres­i­dent Kabi­la and reached an agree­ment to per­mit the com­pa­ny to prospect in the DRC. Details on the actu­al imple­men­ta­tion of this deal, how­ev­er, are not avail­able. More recent­ly, in Jan­u­ary 2014, Cato­ca (8% owned by Rus­sias Alrosa and 32.8% owned by Ango­las state-owned dia­mond min­ing com­pa­ny) received the Ambas­sador of the DRC to Ango­la at one of its sites in the coun­try to ascer­tain poten­tial col­lab­o­ra­tion between the two with­in the DRC. Despite joint own­er­ship with Ango­la, Cato­ca oper­ates under Russ­ian management.