The controversial Sino-Congolese mining deal Sicomines has been revived thanks to new financing from China’s Exim Bank. This is one of Beijing’s biggest natural resources-for-infrastructure deals in Africa. If successful, the deal would net millions of tons in iron ore and cobalt for the Chinese while providing the Congolese with desperately needed infrastructure. Johanna Malm is widely regarded as the leading scholar on Sino-DRC relations and the Sicomines deal in particular. In this episode, she shares her views on why the deal came back to life now and why it’s so important for both countries.
Jansson’s August 2014 article in The Africa Report on the revival of the Sino-Congolese Sicomines deal can be accessed here.
Johanna Malm has been conducting empirically grounded research on the Chinese presence in African countries since she completed her studies in 2008 (MA Peace and Conflict Studies, Umeå University, Sweden; BA Political Science, Stellenbosch University, South Africa). Between 2007 and 2009, she was a researcher at the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. During this period she conducted field work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Uganda and completed shorter research visits to China and Cameroon. During her time at the Centre for Chinese Studies, she authored and edited a variety of publications on the Chinese presence in Africa and gave numerous talks on the subject.
In 2010, she started her doctoral research as a PhD candidate in International Development Studies at Roskilde University in Denmark. Her PhD thesis draws on constructivist approaches to sovereignty to explore how the Sicomines agreement, a significant Chinese development finance offer, impacted on the relations between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the International Monetary Fund between 2007 and 2012. She is scheduled to complete her thesis in 2014. She has completed a total of five months of field research for the thesis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa and Lubumbashi) conducting around 160 interviews with Chinese, Congolese and Western stakeholders.