Response to Economist Article: Technology is the missing piece

The article, “Smuggler Paradise: Why it’s hard for Congo’s coltan miners to abide by the law” was included January 23rd issue of The Economist.

The article rightly pointed to the challenges in reconciling our appetite for technology and the supply chains that lead to places like the Democratic Republic of Congo where minerals are mined.

One missing piece of the puzzle is the role technology plays in securing the supply chain from the moment a mineral is unearthed.

Blockchain – the immutable digital ledger – has a critical role in improving the traceability schemes, your article describes. Coupled with digital payments, it brings the supply chain fully into the financial system while delivering operational efficiencies to reduce the cost to market.

In fact, it is a game-changer in redesigning the world’s most unsophisticated $100bn market by delivering much needed compliance, transparency, and trust.

This isn’t just a pipe dream. This is happening in the here and now in DRC.

This is good for the miners at one end of the supply chain and consumers at the other. In between, tech companies can operate with more certainty about the integrity of their supply chains and the more transactions flowing in the financial system, the greater the ability of governments to tax. It provides an all-round solution to the compromised clean tech transition.

Original Article (behind paywall): https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2021/01/23/why-its-hard-for-congos-coltan-miners-to-abide-by-the-law