Western Advocacy Groups and (Class) Conflict in the Congo

Post by ISS PhD researcher Ben Radley on Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE) blog

In the post, Ben Radley discusses the role and impact of Western advocacy groups in the ‘conflict minerals’ campaign to help end the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

He argues that the predominantly Western campaign against 'confilict minerals' simplifies the issues involved and has, inadvertently but predictably, to some extent worsened the economic and security situation of small-scale mineral producers in the DRC - the very people it purports to help.

To help solve this contradiction, Radley suggests that Western advocacy groups reorient their efforts to working not just for but with the non-elites they use to promote their public image and in whose name they justify their external interventions. The artisanal miners, peasants and other informal workers would learn more about the advocacy groups and influence more strongly the direction of their work. They would also be able to provide more appropriate solutions to their own problems and struggles.


Ben Radley is a PhD researcher at ISS. His research focuses on the gold mining industry in eastern DRC.