The joint Kivu Lake fossil resources extraction will reinforce the cooperation, almost at a standstill since the advent of the M23, between the two countries. A joint research project on a safe gas extraction was finally signed in Gisenyi on March 13, after three days of intense working sessions between the Congolese and the Rwandese delegations.
The joint Kivu Lake fossil resources extraction, financed by the Dutch government for 8 million euros, is finally confirmed for a two-year implementation period. Since the advent of M23, in reference to the peace agreement signed on March 23, 2009, the negotiations between Rwanda and the DRC were indeed at the standstill. A new page is thus open for the exploitation of the region’s basements, especially for the restoration of relations between the two states.
A lake to share
The DRC shares the Kivu Lake with Rwanda, a site rich in fossil resources. For more than a year, Rwanda has begun to produce here about ten megawatts of electricity. It transforms methane gas, pumped from a platform installed by the country alone 13 km away from the lake shore. But for the Rwandan Minister of Hydrocarbons, “the country has always needed cooperation with the DRC to reduce the extraction cost while raising the production and sharing the profits.” On the other hand, his Congolese counterpart acknowledged that he had lost a lot of time in the war before his country could get back to work.
A multi-party agreement
The agreements are based on a project financed by the Dutch government for € 8 million for a period of two years. For Professor Katcho Karume, Director-General of the Goma Volcanological Observatory, if “the project also includes, throughout its implementation, joint studies on the state of the lake, the money will be managed by Rwanda, which will have to report regularly to the DRC.” As for the Congolese delegation, they will have to call for tenders to set up a platform for methane gas extraction. Therefore, cooperation between the two countries can resume through a public-private partnership and with the financial support of the Netherlands.
Cooperation to be strengthened
The relations between the DRC and Rwanda have been strengthened gradually for 8 years after the advent of the M23, thanks to the joint Kivu Lake fossil resources extraction project. However, confidence is still shy, as the DRC, threatened by a rebellion in its eastern part, has seen in recent years its neighbor, Rwanda, rightly or wrongly accused of supporting the rebels. However, the two ministers in charge of the project confirmed, according to their respective close collaborators, a desire to develop synergies since the beginning of 2016, which may establish new cooperation.