"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

1.05.2012

What's Wrong with Dodd-Frank 1502?

I have a new working paper up at the Center for Global Development. It's entitled, "What's Wrong with Dodd-Frank 1502? Conflict Minerals, Civilian Livelihoods, and the Unintended Consequences of Western Advocacy." You can read the paper here.

The central argument of the paper is that Dodd-Frank 1502, while based in well-intentioned efforts to improve the situation in the Congo, has caused more problems that it has solved, and is unlikely to improve the security situation in eastern Congo when the SEC rules are released and implemented. This is because there is no evidence that supply chain traceability mechanisms actually get fighters to stop fighting, particularly in a very weak state. Moreover, as we are already seeing, smuggling tends to increase and civilian miners are put out of work. In the paper, I delve into an analysis of why the advocacy community chose to focus on conflict minerals and why that focus was misguided. I also suggest steps for a way forward that would both help to improve transparency in the mineral trade while arguing that violence is a separate problem with a separate solution.

I welcome your comments and questions on the paper. Thanks to the folks at the Center for Global Development for publishing it. All errors are, of course, my own.