The Venezuelan government sees developing the country’s mining potential as a way out of its economic crisis, a downward momentum triggered by the slump in crude prices. And to make this happen they want to collaborate with Kinshasa.
In mid-June, Norma Borges Rengifo, the Venezuelan ambassador to Congo-K met with Agee Matembo Toto, vice minister of foreign affairs in Kinshasa, to discuss mining cooperation contracts with particular focus on coltan and diamonds. Venezuela, which has signed a string of deals with a number of least developed countries (LDC), wants to draw on local expertise while attracting foreign investors active in Congolese mines.
In late 2016, Venezuela signed several memorandums of understanding to generate a total $5.5 billion in foreign funding to explore a 120,000-square kilometre area in the south of the country known as the Mining Arch of the Orinoco River. At that time, precious gemstone trading firm Afridiam, which has offices in London and Dubai but is very active in Congo-K, signed a letter of intent. Namdeb, a joint venture between the Namibian government and De Beers, as well as Angolan state-owned firm Endiama also expressed their interest in developing Venezuelan diamonds.
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