Zahabu Safi (The Commercially Viable Conflict-Free Gold Project – CVCFG) is an economic development initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The goal of the project is to establish a conflict-free artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) gold supply chain originating from eastern DRC. The five-year, $11.9 million program builds on recent successes achieved by donor-funded initiatives to export responsibly-produced gold to jewelry buyers in North America and Europe.
The program is being implemented by Global Communities in partnership with Levin Sources, Better Chain and RCS Global Upstream Ltd.
This project contributes to the broader US government goal of reducing instability in the DRC – which has more than 1,100 minerals worth nearly $24 trillion – by providing commercial opportunities to artisanal miners by linking them to responsible gold buyers in international markets, or by strengthening local partnerships between artisanal mining cooperatives and established institutional investors/anchor institutions within the DRC.
Global Communities, along with selected leading experts in the DRC artisanal mining sector, will provide overall strategic guidance and will use proven tools to improve the governance and business operations of ASM gold cooperatives. The three primary objectives of the program are:
- To increase demand for and co-investment in conflict-free traceable, responsible ASM gold from eastern DRC;
- To increase exports of conflict-free, traceable responsible ASM gold from eastern DRC; and
- To improve the commercial-viability of ASM gold cooperatives.
Trade Facilitation and B2B (Market) Linkages
We will increase the reputation, visibility and availability of responsibly-sourced artisanal gold from eastern DRC through targeted and ongoing market research, as well as facilitated engagements with gold refiners, retailers and other downstream supply chain actors interested in purchasing responsibly-sourced gold from the DRC.
Due Diligence and Traceability
We will strengthen the capacity of ASM cooperatives, traders and exporters to participate in/conduct due diligence that adheres to international and regional standards, and thus increase the availability of traceable, conflict-free ASM gold – specifically following the DRC’s Initiative de Traçabilité de l’Or d’Exploitation Artisanale (ITOA), International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) requirements for responsible sourcing of gold from Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas (CAHRAs).
Supplier (Cooperative) Development and Strengthening
We will apply Global Communities’ tested, participatory model for cooperative development, featuring a five-pronged approach to working with cooperatives to improve their governance and business practices, resulting in an increase in cooperative incomes and member equity.
Access to Finance and Investment Facilitation (Social and Commercial)
We will work with local and multinational companies interested in making catalytic and strategic investments in ASM communities. We will also seek to leverage up to US$4M in investment in the ASM supply chains supported by the project, through investments made via our Responsible Gold Innovation Fund (RGIF).