In the Democratic Republic of #Congo, the United Nations migration agency revealed that a staggering 6.9 million people have been displaced due to prolonged conflict, marking one of the most significant humanitarian crises globally. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported this unprecedented displacement, primarily attributed to the decades-long conflict that has ravaged all 26 provinces of Congo.
This conflict is over control of precious materials, including bauxite, gold, and, most importantly, cobalt, among others. About 90% of the cobalt extracted in Congo, a country hosting approximately half of the globe's cobalt reserves, is utilized in batteries. These batteries are notably used by automakers and electronics manufacturers from the #UnitedStates, #France, #Germany, #Japan, and #SouthKorea. The International Energy Agency forecasts a substantial surge in cobalt demand, estimating a twentyfold increase by 2040. #Ford, #GM, #Apple, #Tesla and #Intel are some of the companies that source cobalt from the area.
The epicenter of this displacement crisis is concentrated in eastern Congo, particularly in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, and Tanganyika. These areas have been deeply affected by numerous armed groups vying for control over the region's resources, such as gold, contributing to the ongoing turmoil. Many of these groups have purportedly received support from neighboring countries, while some claim to act in defense of their communities.
Conflict has intensified significantly, leading to a recent surge in displacements, as noted by Fabien Sambussy, IOM's chief of mission in Congo. More than two-thirds of the displaced population—around 4.8 million people—are living with host families, further straining already impoverished communities.
Tensions and frustration have escalated, prompting the Congolese government to order the withdrawal of the East African regional force, deployed to quell the violence, citing insufficient progress. Additionally, there's mounting pressure for the #UnitedNations peacekeeping mission, which has been present in the country for over two decades, to exit.
It is crucial for all stakeholders, including the corporations sourcing these materials, to recognize their role in this crisis and actively work toward dismantling the structures perpetuating it. We advocate for peaceful solutions to support displaced communities and prioritize diplomacy over military interventions.
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