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A deafening silence: the conflicts in the region of the African Great Lakes


On 10th May, the Financial Times published a preliminary report for 2013 from the Africa Progress Pannel organisation, led by Kofi Annan, criticising the lack of transparency in operations between the Congolese government and private corporations. Apparently, between 2012 and 2012 the state could have lost 1.36 billion dollars in sales of mining assets below their real value, a figure that corresponds to twice the annual education budget in the DRC.

In the debate that took place at the Carlos de Amberes Foundation yesterday, Thursday 23rd May, leading African and European researchers, politicians and journalists tried to emphasise the long conflict that the Great Lakes region is suffering. Under the academic direction of the renowned Africanist Mbuyi Kabunda Badi, they analysed the actors, political and economic motivations that serve to fuel the violence in this border territory, as well as the prospects for peace, opportunities to encourage democracy and development, and the important role of the West, and particularly Europe, in this process. The terrible consequences of these long conflicts for human rights, especially for women, were also revealed.

The symposium, organised by the Observatory on the Social Reality of Sub-Saharan Africa of the Carlos de Amberes Foundation, with the collaboration of Casa África, the Belgian Embassy in Spain and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, was carried out as part of activities for Africa Day (25th May). It also counted with the collaboration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC), the Representation of the European Commission in Spain, the Real Instituto Elcano, the Mainel Foundation, the Community of Madrid and the Women's Foundation for Africa.

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