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1Research Presentation by Mariam Abuhaideri University of West Georgia Is your Cell Phone a Murder Weapon? The Case of Western Consumers vs. the People of the CongoResearch Presentation byMariam AbuhaideriUniversity of West Georgia
2Abundance of Natural resources == Prosperity and Peace The African Continent is blessed with abundant natural resources such asDiamondsColtanPetroleum andCopperGoldYet it is the West that experiences economic stability and growth while weak states in Africa are economically and politically deprived. (1)Weak StatesThe West
35 W’s and 1 H Which regions in particular are worst affected? Why does this problem exist?When did the conflict start?What is the importance of these resources?How are weak states affected?Who is responsible for this global imbalance?WHICH?
4Exploitation of Weak states like the DRC The region is blessed with abundant natural resources.Despite this, the people of the Congo have been driven deeper into poverty and vulnerability because of regional wars, internal conflict, environmental degradation and disease (2) .WHY?
5Many people are familiar with “Blood Diamonds” but few know of “Conflict Cell Phones” International competition for scarce resources in general, and for coltan in particular, is a key factor in the lack of stability and continuation of the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DRC has 80 percent of world’s known coltan reserves.Although ethnic tensions existed prior to the war, escalation of the civil conflict is a by-product of this trade. (3)When Did This Emerge?
6Conflict Origins and Future The current conflict in The DRC has roots in colonial history.The history of the DRC is marked by exploitation, corruption and conflict.The UN organized a peacekeeping mission to control the civil strife in the region since its independence from Belgium in 1960.After a United Nations withdrawal, the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko ruled until he was overthrown in 1997 by President Laurent Kabila. He was assassinated in 2001 and his son Joseph now rules as opposition militia continue to threaten the state, making this a 46 year conflict.Historical rivalry between rebel groups from Rwanda and Uganda further fueled the internal unrest in the Congo.(4)Currently the violence among opposed ethnic groups, political factions and regional states is fueled by imported modern weapons and financed by the exploitation of the DRC’s natural resources. (5)What is driving this?
7Coltan How are parts of the world linked? Columbite Columbite TantaliteOne of the many lucrative natural resources that is illegally mined and exported to industrialized regions for profit.Once refined, this high heat-resistant mineral, is used as a key component in cell phones, PDA’s and laptop computers.Mining and selling Coltan is not illegal.Most worldwide supplies of tantalum come from legitimate mining operations in Australia, Canada, and BrazilHow are parts of the world linked?
8The Link between the enduring war in the Congo and Western Consumers Technological boom in the west led to an increase in the demand for cell phones, computers and other gadgets.The DRC provided low cost coltan for the global market. (6)Affluent consumers and technology companies exploited the weak region.Militia in Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi clawed out much of the profit from the wealth generated from coltan to intensify the conflict by purchasing arms on the international market to further their movement’s engagement with regional conflict.Profits do not benefit local people or development plans.This has also had a devastating effect on the environment. (7)Who are the people involved?
10Responsibility Western Consumers? High- tech Manufacturers? Rebel groups of Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi?Government of DRC?Consumers in Developing Countries?
11Is your Cell Phone a Murder Weapon? Coltan is only one of the many resources which have fueled conflicts in the world. With growing demands for scarce resources from emerging industrialized nations, there is no saying what turn the world will take.Be Informed about your purchasesResearch companiesIt is your responsibility to make certain that you are clean of all blood and charges
13Research ReferencesShah, Anup. Conflicts in Africa. 11 Jan <http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa/DRC.asp#AnInternationalBattleOverResources>.2 & 3. Montague, Dena. “Stolen Goods: Coltan and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” SAIS Review. Vol. 22.1(2002) <http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/sais_review/v022/22.1montague.html>.Todd, Benjamin. “Congo, Coltan, Conflict.” The Heinz School Review. Vol March 2006 <http://journal.heinz.cmu.edu/articles/congo_coltan_conflict/.>“Congo: History of a Troubled Land.” CNN.com. 17 Jan Feb <http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/africa/01/17/congo.timeline/index.html>.Moyroud, Celine and John Katunga. “ Coltan Exploration in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).”Klare, Michael T. Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2001.United Nations. Security Council. SC/7057 Following Day-Long Debate, Presidentail Statement Notes Terrible Toll Conflict is Taking Place