Conflict coltan
: local and international dynamics in the Democratic Republic of Congo

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This research analyses the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in enhancing governance to promote sustainable peace and security. It uses a case study of coltan exploitation and armed conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the two wars between 1996 and 2003 and the ongoing conflict have led to the ‘world’s worst humanitarian crisis’. The current body of knowledge on conflict analyses, particularly ‘resource curse’ theory, emphasises the natural resource endowment and weak governance as the main factors contributing to the DRC conflict, and has been influential in policy formulation.

    The case study is supported by the collection and analysis of qualitative data from multiple sources using different methods including literature reviews, interviews and observations. In so doing, the research seeks to examine how multi-stakeholder partnerships can help to enhance governance and promote sustainable peace and security, with a focus on the role of the multi-stakeholder partnerships in curtailing revenues for the belligerents from coltan production and trade in the eastern DRC.

    The analysis of the conflicts and coltan exploitation revealed the intricate multi-layered nature of the conflicts in the DRC and their complex causalities. The examination of the multi-stakeholder partnerships relevant to coltan exploitation in the DRC identified a number of constraints for their implementation and concerns about adverse effects from the implementation, largely owing to the externally driven agenda of the partnerships, which neglects the local perspectives.

    Through the arguments presented in this thesis, the research contributes to knowledge in three broad areas: it contributes to ongoing academic discussions on conflict analyses, in particular the resource curse hypothesis and the economic agendas of civil war; it provides empirical analysis and data on the coltan industry and partnership initiatives in relation to armed conflicts in the eastern DRC; and it highlights the need to re-assess the concept of participatory governance as one of the key approaches to improving governance.
    Date of Award2011
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorAlan Hunter (Supervisor)


    • Democratic Republic of Congo
    • Civil War
    • Sustainable peace and security
    • Coltan production and trade
    • Economic competition

    Cite this