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Diamantenhandel und der Krieg in Kongo/Zaire [The diamond trade and the war in Congo/Zaire]

Volker Kaul

Africa Spectrum, 2007, vol. 42, issue 1, 49-71

Abstract: In this essay, I analyse the relationship between the diamond trade and the war in Congo/Zaire. Most analyses on this topic come to the conclusion that the diamond trade is the cause of the so-called 'first African World War'. My thesis is that motives of greed as such cannot explain the formation, course and dynamics of the war in Congo/Zaire. The diamond trade is part of a political culture of liminal phenomena in Congo and conveys a normative force in the grievance-ridden political and economic context of Congo/Zaire. Not the diamond trade as such but the social structures resulting from the diamond trade and the particular form of governance that characterizes a political system based on the diamond trade explain the war in Congo/Zaire. Although the war was indeed waged by means of the diamond trade and this contributed to the formation of war economies in Congo, it had other purposes: national security, physical survival, political influence, societal order, social integration and self-reali­zation.

Date: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:gig:afjour:v:42:y:2007:i:1:p:49-71