YaBiso: Dan Gertler's lifeline?
In a video published in mid-November 2020, Dan Gertler announced to the Congolese people his intention to share part of the mining revenues he receives in the Metalkol project:
“This is the first time that you, brothers and sisters will come to benefit from the wealth of this country. [...] On each ton of copper or cobalt that will be extracted [...] each Congolese will be a partner and paid for each ton exported ”. (1)
With his "YaBiso" initiative, Dan Gertler plans to sell Congolese citizens the right to 30% of the royalties he receives in Metalkol, a company that mines copper and cobalt near Kolwezi, in the province of Lualaba (2).
In the eyes of many, this operation appears as a communication strategy aimed at burnishing the image of Dan Gertler, whose reputation was tarnished when the United States sanctioned him at the end of 2017 for having corrupted Congolese politicians in order to obtain cheap mining assets (3).
But others, disappointed by the fallout from the mining sector, seem to see it as a beneficial offer for the Congolese people. They would be willing to believe that "bad can come from good" (4), and that Gertler would now be ready to be transparent and share resources with Congolese citizens (5), as he claimed when he obtained the controversial license of the Trump administration, allowing him to skirt sanctions in place (6).
This technical note aims to review this initiative proposed by Dan Gertler, exploring how he acquired the asset which he now intends to put up for sale as well as other important revenue flows that he continues to benefit from today. The memo emphasizes what could really at stake for YaBiso: protecting ill-gotten mining assets, obtained during Joseph Kabila's last two terms.
(More details in our publication)