- Chinese involvement in the Congolese cobalt industry started in the 2000s with a highly controversial resources-for-infrastructure deal that responded to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s need for infrastructure.
- Since then, Chinese entities have used such investments and joint ventures to establish a dominant position in the cobalt sector.
- This expansion has been enabled by a combination of financial power and political influence-building in the Congolese government.
- Since Félix Tshisekedi assumed power in 2019, there has been growing pressure to renegotiate some of these deals. Chinese companies have come under more scrutiny, especially regarding their infrastructure commitments.
- Global geopolitical pressures are shaping these dynamics, with especially US–China tensions contributing to concerns about Chinese dominance in the strategic cobalt sector.