Pauline Latham is the Member of Parliament for Mid Derbyshire and is an Officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption. Follow Pauline on Twitter.
In the last couple of weeks, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has hit the headlines as internal conflict has escalated, causing thousands of people to flee their homes in fear of violence.
It was only a few weeks ago that I led a Westminster Hall debate on DRC, a country in which the life expectancy of a man is 47 and a woman, 50. Despite being a country that is one of the world’s richest in natural resources (such as the coltan integral to our mobile phones and laptops) its people and government are amongst the poorest in the world. DRC ranks 187th out of 187 countries in the UN Human Development Index.
Exports of minerals from Africa are worth around $333 billion a year, nearly seven times the value of international aid. I am rightly proud that it is a Conservative Government that will finally meet Britain’s historic pledges on aid. But imagine what could be achieved by countries like the DRC if the revenues raised from their resources were also targeted to benefit the poorest communities. If the UK has a problem getting some companies to pay their way, imagine the difficulties much less well equipped and well funded governments have.