Belgian Administration in the Congo

Belgian Administration in the Congo

Belgian Administration in the Congo

Belgian Administration in the Congo

Excerpt

If there is anything about the Congo on which there is instant agreement, it is certainly the economic impetus given to the country by the Belgians. With the exception of the Union of South Africa, no territory in the black sub- continent has attained such a high industrial development as the Congo, although the economy continues to include also an important agricultural sector. The Congo is a country of abundant mineral and hydro-electric resources, which became increasingly valuable from the beginning of the twentieth century, but especially after the Great War, when Minister Louis Franck was in charge of the Colonial Office (1919-1924).

In 1953 the Congo was the leading African producer of cobalt (86 per cent of the total African production), diamonds (64 per cent), tin (60 per cent), tungsten and zinc mineral (53 per cent), silver (51 per cent); the second biggest producer of copper (34 per cent) after Northern Rhodesia and an important producer of gold. The raw mineral products were as a rule treated in the country and this favoured the creation of secondary industries, which doubled their production between 1950 and 1953. Another indication of the high degree of industrialisation is given by the production of electric energy (1956: 1,743 million kilowatt hours), the highest in Africa after the Union of South Africa.

Notwithstanding this industrial development, in 1954 subsistence agriculture still constituted 80 per cent of the agricultural sector and 42 per cent of the whole local production.

The general trend of the Congolese economy between 1950 and 1954 is shown by the following figures: the value of production increased by 57 per cent, in detail as follows: agriculture 41, mining 81 and industry 100. During the . . .

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