About the Authors: Maria Otero serves as Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, Robert Hormats serves as Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, and Johnnie Carson serves as Assistant Secretary for African Affairs.
Many people know Dikembe Mutombo as one of the greatest shot blockers in NBA history, but fewer know of his efforts to better the lives of those from his native country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A serious issue in the DRC and throughout the Great Lakes Region of central Africa is conflict minerals and those that suffer as a result of this illicit trade. This week, we all had a chance to sit down with Mr. Mutombo and his partners from Hewlett-Packard to discuss his work on this critical issue.
Addressing the problem of conflict minerals is a high priority for the State Department. Secretary Clinton highlighted the issue during her August 2009 visit to the DRC, and since then we have been working closely with a range of stakeholders, including industry associations like the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI). These groups are working to ensure that metal smelters are conflict-free and support traceability efforts led by the tin industry. EICC and GeSI member companies brought over 100 representatives from the electronics, manufacturing, automotive, and chemical industries to Washington, D.C. to meet with officials from the U.S. and Congolese governments to learn more about these efforts.
We applaud Mr. Mutombo's commitment to improve the situation in the DRC and look forward to working with the many stakeholders in industry, civil society, international institutions, and governments to find solutions to this critical problem.
Together, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats, and Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson have worked for the last year responding to the Secretary's call to address the issue of conflict minerals.Related Content: Ending the Conflict Minerals Trade in the Eastern Congo and Ending the Conflict Minerals Trade