Topic: 2023-Impact of Conflict Minerals
Delegate Name: Samantha Kantor
Special Political Committee
Conflict of Minerals
Samantha Kantor, Forest Hills Northern High School
Gabon was colonized by France in the late 19th century and became an independent country in 1960. France developed Gabon’s economy to depend on trade, particularly trade with France. Gabon exported raw materials and imported manufactured goods. Thus, Gabon became dependent on France to purchase its natural resources and failed to develop an internal manufacturing industry. France profited greatly from the sales of Gabonese oil and timber. France is still currently exploiting Gabon for its oil. There are many French oil bases found in Gabon today, such as: TotalEnergies, Maurel and Prom, and Perenco, all of which are making significant profits. The young African generations are getting fed up with the French meddling in their affairs and exploiting their natural resources while keeping them “the poorest people on earth”.
Evidently even in the modern age many companies have continued exploiting the numerous resources of African nations through purchasing goods at lower than market prices, supporting the use of forced labor, and obtaining product from unethical sources; this in turn has continued insurgency, terrorism, and warmongering in underprivileged nations. One such example is the blood diamonds in Sierra Leone. Blood diamonds, also known as conflict diamonds, are diamonds that are mined in war zones and sold to finance violence. Sierra Leone was one of the countries that suffered from the blood diamond trade, which fueled a civil war that lasted over a decade. The diamond mines were controlled by British companies and other foreign merchants, who exploited the newfound market and contributed to the conflict.
Gabon is interested in finding a solution to the complex issue while maintaining national sovereignty. Developing nations that are being exploited deserve a fair share of the profit they generate. According to a report by Global Financial Integrity and the Centre for Applied Research at the Norwegian School of Economics, developing countries send trillions of dollars more to the west than the other way around1. This is a result of trade misinvoicing, tax havens, and illicit financial flows. To address this issue, developed countries should take measures to ensure that developing countries receive a fair share of the profits generated by their resources and labor.
France and all other nations need to take responsibility and ensure that the exploitation of developing nations is addressed and that the profits generated by these nations are shared equitably. The UN can play a key role in promoting transparency and accountability in international trade and finance, and in ensuring that the rights of developing nations are protected.