Tuesday, December 16

Rwanda and Congo

Hank Cohen, George Bush I's Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, has an op-ed in today's NYT looking at the Rwandan role in the conflict in Eastern Congo, and suggesting increased regional trade integration as a way out:
After his inauguration, Barack Obama should appoint a special negotiator who would propose a framework for an economic common market encompassing Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This agreement would allow the free movement of people and trade. It would give Rwandan businesses continued access to Congolese minerals and forests. The products made from those raw materials would continue to be exported through Rwanda. The big change would be the payment of royalties and taxes to the Congolese government. For most Rwandan businesses, those payments would be offset by increased revenues.
That would probably be helpful. Of course, the current East African Community has enough difficulty agreeing on increased integration as it is, without bringing DRC into the mix.

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