Book Review: Congo’s Environmental Paradox: Potential and Predation in a Land of Plenty by Theodore Trefon

This book broadens existing scholarly debates on the political economy of Democratic Republic of Congo’s natural resources. The book is timely in helping to unravel the changing trends in resource governance post-2001. The book demonstrates the inherent paradoxes in the Congo; In the midst of ‘plenty’, poverty, conflict and poor governance exist side by side. These paradoxes are examined in light of their implications on state-building and governance in the Congo. It is written by a seasoned Congo expert.

This book analyzes the present and the future potentials of Congo’s natural resources in contributing to the country’s development (p.10).  In advancing its central argument, the book delves into Congo key resources of forests, water, farming, mining, and oil.  It explores the potentials of this resource-rich country for her own development while providing sufficient estimates for her natural resources endowment

The book additionally engages the debates on the natural resource governance in the Congo in order to provide linkages with overall state building and development. The book argues that Congo’s development and her attendant state-building efforts will not take place in an environment marked by poor resource governance. The book further emphasizes the value of prudent natural resource management as the panacea for unlocking the potentials of Congo’s abundant natural resources. –LSE/

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