Africa

Last updated: 26 february, 2010 - 13:12 GMT

Katanga insight

Map of DR Congo showing Katanga province

Katanga region's development has been very uneven

Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has rich deposits of copper and cobalt, minerals that are important in world trade and industry.

The former colonial power, Belgium invested more in the south of Katanga, while the story of the north is one of conflict.

Thomas Fessy, our reporter in DR Congo made a trip there to find out more about this economically vital region.

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Music of the mines

Congolese band, Jecoke has been playing since the early 50's.

Integrated into the mining union the Jecoke were then touring in miners' camps to entertain miners and other diggers.

Overall, the Jecoke are closely linked to the industrial history of Katanga and Thomas Fessy met the band in the provincial capital Lubumbashi.

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Mining and witchcraft

Towards the end of 2008, most major foreign-owned mining companies in the country suspended their activities due to the global economic crisis.

Congolese villagers attending a seminar on awareness on sexual violence in Mwitobwe, south-east D.R. Congo.

The UN have begun to hold seminars to educate against sexual violence

Today the mining sector appears to be recovering and mining activities have resumed in Katanga; the price of copper is more than double the price it was last year.

And of the thousands of small time miners and diggers who were laid off over a year ago, hundreds have since returned to mining sites where many of them, in a bid to find better quality minerals, are consulting witchdoctors.

But as Thomas Fessy reports from Katanga, this often leads to sexual violence against young girls.

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Threatened livelihoods

In some parts of the province, entire communities live off fishing, but an environmental policy introduced to protect fish stocks has put their livelihood at risk.

In some places fishing is not allowed from early December to the end of February.

The BBC's Thomas Fessy went to Malemba-Nkulu, in northern Katanga to investigate.

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