The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a portion of Africa that is rich in natural resources, but unfortunately rife with government corruption, poverty, and violence. Citizens that want to enact change by electing different officials are blocked from progress due to the government blocking elections since 2016 (CIA). Even with U.N. intervention to assist in ending violence, more groups like the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, the Allied Democratic Forces, and many other small militias have persevered in creating unrest while struggling for power (CIA).
In July of 2010, the United States passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to attempt to end the illegal trade of natural resources and exploitation in the DRC – primarily tin, tantalum, tungsten and of course….gold (Stoop, Verpoorten, & van der Windt, 2018). In September 2014 a group of scholars proclaimed that the bill does not appropriately protect the resources, or the people of the DRC since only approximately 8% of violence there is due to disputes over resources (Stoop, et al., 2018). The act also created a different avenue of conflict for militant groups and criminals; fighting over the ability to guard certain mines, as well as the discovery that looting civilians became more profitable than trading in illegal natural resources (Stoop, et al., 2018).
A final study done on the act from 2004-2015 actually found that it “does not do what it intended to do” and furthermore, increased the likelihood of armed combat for mines and increased the amount of looting and violence towards the civilian population it was supposed to protect. In June of 2017 the U.S. House passed the CHOICE Act, which is designed to repeal Dodd-Frank and restore the protection of the natural resources back to the DRC.
Cultural differences certainly play a role in communication and working with other nations, but the Dodd-Frank Act truly makes an American citizen wonder if this was truly designed to assist the Congo in lowering violence and protecting resources, or was it put in place to protect American interests and money?
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The world factbook. Retrievedfrom: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html
Penn State University. (2018). Lesson 05: Learning and change in a global setting.Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1942644/modules
Stoop, N., Verpoorten, M., & van der Wint, P., (2018). More legislation, more violence? Theimpact of Dodd-Frank in the DRC. PloS one, 13(8), 1-19.