The untold story of progress in the Congo

Filed under OPINION

What is the real motive of some of the so-called human rights and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that consistently propagate a negative image about Africa and about African people?

I am in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) once again on a mission of initiating a local “Sustainable Job Creation Program” related to the mining sector of the DRC’s economy. The World Bank just announced that economy in the DRC  is growing in “an unprecedented rate of 7 percent” annually from 2011 to 2012.

It was a special pleasure over the past several days to on the ground in the Katanga Province, the leading mining province in the largest landmass for an African nation. The size of the Katanga Province alone is larger than the nation of France.

Know the truth
All Americans should know more about the truth of the current positive economic and human development progress in Africa today after centuries of colonialism, imperialism, neocolonialism, and unjust exploitation. So much of what is ‘wrong’ today is the deliberate misrepresentation in the established media about the factual progress that is being made in African nations.

I will not be silent or complicit to the misdeeds of well-intentioned or ill-intentioned people who do not live in Africa, do not know Africa, and who do not care about Africa, but yet who raise money internationally for the specific purpose of attacking the legitimate aspirations and self-determination of African people across the continent.

Bad reporting
For example, the BBC recently erroneously reported that Glencore Mining was using child labor in the DRC and contributing to environmental dangers.  The problem is the Panorama film group featured in the BBC story had all of their facts wrong and the story was not true, but the BBC had already broadcast the negative story throughout the world. Glencore Mining officials confirmed that no one from Panorama met with the Glencore officials at the site in question to get their allegations fact-checked. This was just one example.

I’m glad that CNN did a positive story about the development of the Georges Malaika Foundation in the DRC in the Katanga Province that focused on the excellent work of Noella Musunka and the Foundation in building and maintaining a girls’ school and an adjacent community development center.

Africa still has a long way to go. The DRC should be encouraged, not falsely criticized.  I met with the young governor of the Katanga Province, H.E. Moise Katumbi Chapwe. I witnessed the growing economy of the Katanga Province and the overall improvement of the quality of life in that part of Africa.

Let’s work harder to support sustainable development in all of Africa, as well as in our own communities in the United States.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis is senior advisor to the Black Alliance for Educational Options and president of Education Online Services Corporation.

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