The article explores how the exploitation of mineral resources such as diamonds contributed to prolonging the armed conflict that broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998. It affirms that the motivation and feasibility of resource exploitation go a long way in explaining why external military contingents remained active in the country from 1998 onwards. For elites in Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe the natural wealth of the DRC clearly contributed to sustain positions of power. Although much of the foreign exploitation of Congo's resources has been carried out at gunpoint, the use of existing local networks suggests that withdrawal of forces not necessarily will stop the resource diversion. While a lasting resolution to the crisis needs to ensure due benefits to the local population from their resources, it also requires that stakeholders see peace as a more attractive option than continued war.

See also: