The Life of the Super Rich in Central Africa

The Life of the Super Rich in Central Africa: Between Luxury and Misery

DW (2021)

Film Review

This documentary concerns the 600 millionaires in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The majority of DRC residents on less than two euros a day. Even miners (including 40,000 children) who work in the lucrative coltan mines earn only 5 euros a day.

The film profiles three specific multimillionaires: a rock star, the former rebel leader who currently owns the largest coltan* mine (and serves as a member of parliament) and a prophet who cures people with miracle juice made from gasoline and lemon juice.

The main reason so many DRC residents live in abject poverty is extreme corruption. Mobuto Sese Seko, brutal dictator between 1965 and 1997 (when DRC was called Zaire), embezzled four billion euros from the government prior to being ousted by rebel forces. Joseph Kabila, president of DRC between 2001 and 2019, embezzled three million euros. In 2021, DRC is number one on the list of the 20 most corrupt countries.

Tax evasion also continues to be a major problem, leaving the current government starved for funding to improve infrastructure. Most rural roads are unpaved, electrical outages are common and less than one-fifth of the population have access to electricity.

Owing to the fragile September 2020 ceasefire (enforced by 16,000 UN peacekeepers), many former DRC expatriates have returned to take the country’s limited middle class jobs. The filmmakers profile a couple who earn a total of $3,500 a month (100 times the country’s average salary) working as bankers. One third of their income goes to pay rent in a luxurious Western-style high security enclave.


*Coltan is refined to produce tantalum, a rare metal essential in cellphone technology.

The US Rape of the Congo

Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth

Friends of the Congo (2012)

Film Review

Crisis in the Congo is a heart breaking documentary about the invisible US proxy war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For the last 20 years, the US (and Britain) have been arming and training Rwandan and Ugandan-backed rebels who are plundering DRC’s rich mineral resources (gold, diamonds, cobalt, coltan, copper and tin) for the benefit of the electronic and aerospace industry.

The US has a long ugly history in the Congo, one of the most mineral-rich countries* in the world. After the CIA assassinated Patrice Lamumba, DRC’s first democratically elected president, the US installed the brutal dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. When the cold war ended, the US abandoned their support for Mobutu and sponsored a joint Rwandan/Kenyan invasion to remove him from power.

DRC’s 20+ year civil war has resulted in the death of over six million civilians, the brutal rape of thousands of women and children and the forced induction of thousand of child solders.

Barf alert: there’s a disgustingly hypocritical speech by Obama starting at 18.00, in which he accuses Africans of “pointing the finger” at other countries and reminds them of their responsibility to enact democratic reforms.

Postscript: In 2012. after this documentary was made, Obama briefly reduced aid to Rwanda (based on evidence they were recruiting child solders) but resumed funding in 2013. As of 2015, Rwanda remained dependent on foreign aid (mainly Britain and the US) for 40% of their national budget.

Despite the presence of UN peacekeeping forces, the civil war continues in the eastern DRC. It continues to be regarded as a failed state

Meanwhile, the US continues to increase  military bases and direct troop deployment in Africa and the corporate media largely refuses to report on  it.

Hear Edward Herman talk about his recent book “Enduring Lies,” examining the falsehoods circulated by Western governments about the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and the ongoing use of that event as an excuse for military intervention around the world at Project Censored Radio