When President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in July 2010, there was hope that corruption and conflict from mineral-rich poor countries such as Congo would be reduced. The Act requires oil, gas, and mining companies registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to publicly disclose their tax and revenue payments to governments around the world. It also requires companies to disclose information about the origins of tin ore, coltan (used in cell phones and computers), wolframite (used in armaments) and gold.
This initiative could be a constraint to corruption, but only if realistic verification mechanisms are put in place and if there is sufficient pressure to make sure legislation is respected. This is an improbable set of conditions given the shady actors involved in Congo’s mineral business.
The European Parliament is currently discussing a similar law but it appears that Europe has no intention of adopting tough legislation like that of Dodd-Frank.
This is yet another example of how Congo’s international partners are powerless to act collectively in addressing the country’s macro-economic and security challenges.
Christopher Dodd, who pushed for this piece of legislation is the son of another Connecticut senetor, Thomas Joseph Dodd, who visited the Congo in 1961 to investigate the Katanga seccession.