Congo improves extractive sector transparency but more needed - anti-graft body

KINSHASA, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo has made progress in implementing transparency in its extractive mining sector but needs to do more in publishing contracts and revenues from the sector, a global anti-corruption body said.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which sets a global standard for good governance in oil, gas and mineral resources, said Congo has achieved a high overall score in the implementation of the 2019 EITI Standards.

The standards include good governance, clear legal framework and fiscal regimes, and publishing of contracts and revenues.

President Felix Tshisekedi has promised to tackle corruption and opacity on Congo's mining sector and vowed to review and publish deals that did not benefit the country, world's largest producer of cobalt and Africa's leading miner of copper.

Congo has published around 200 contracts and related documents in the last two years, including deals with Chinese companies and Israeli businessman Dan Gertler, who is under U.S. Treasury sanctions, EITI Congo national coordinator said.

"Congo has strongly distinguished itself ... on the quality of the public debate around transparency in the extractive industries," Jean-Jacques Kayembe, the new EITI national coordinator, told Reuters.

He added the country was rated lower on other criteria due to the lack of a register of beneficial owners, delays in setting a mining fund for future generations and on the transparency of sub-national payments of mining royalties.

"Congo stakeholders are still requesting the publication of the latest agreement signed between Dan Gertler and the state on the transfer of certain mining assets," Kayembe said, adding that the issue was on the agenda of the next EITI Executive Committee meeting on Oct. 27.

Reporting by Stanis Bujakera, Editing by Helen Reid and Josie Kao

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