The Democratic Republic of Congo - and indeed the whole of Africa - is shaping up to be the number one investment proposition of the next ten years. This is my view.
I have pushed this view repeatedly in DailyWealth. For the full story, check out my previous columns The Spoils of War, The Scramble for DR Congo's Mineral Wealth, and Your Last Chance At The Secret African Supermarket.
Africa is the perfect investment region for a contrarian. For the past ten years, the international press has completely ignored Africa and the DR Congo... 2005 is a great example.
According to Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the on-line media-tracking journal The Tyndall Report, 2005 had an "unusually high amount of international media coverage."
Yet, of the 14,529 minutes of airtime on the three major U.S. television networks' nightly newscasts for 2005, only 6 minutes were dedicated to the DR Congo.
In 2003, the coverage was even worse. In the final year of the DR Congo's civil war - a war that killed 4 million people - the three major networks dedicated just 5 minutes to the DRC.
'It seems that Africa receives attention only when Americans are there - either in the form of warships, Bush or tourists,' said Salih Booker, director of Africa Action, a grassroots advocacy group. This lack of news coverage "confirms Africa's status as the invisible continent."
Things are changing though... in both the DR Congo and in the world's attitude to the DR Congo.
The big news is, DR Congo held official government elections this weekend. These elections represented the first chance for the Congolese people to choose their leaders in more than four decades.
It seems the election was a success. The BBC said yesterday: "International observers have praised the Democratic Republic of Congo's election historic election on Sunday, despite a few problem areas."
And my point man in Kinshasa - a U.S. diplomat - sent me this eyewitness report in an email this morning:
"The general mood here is one of optimism, conviction that by the end of this calendar year there will be a democratically-elected government in place that will make this country a better place to live and to do business in. Anglo Gold and others in the mining sector should be somewhat heartened by the prospects for better governance, less impunity, and more transparency in 2007."
The elections have generated the most news coverage for the Congo in years. But I think something deeper is going on here. Check these out:
The June issue of Time features the DR Congo as its cover story. "Congo: The Hidden Toll of the World's Deadliest War."
This week's issue of The Economist, hot off the press, features the DR Congo as a leading article titled: Mending Africa's Broken Heart.
And MoneyWeek, in its July 7th issue, ran Africa as the cover story under the headline: Profits, I presume? Why There's Money to Be Made in Africa.
It's not just the mainstream media either. Newsletter writers are getting in on the act, recommending African mining stocks. I know our friends over at Casey Research - the publishing company owned by world famous mining speculator Doug Casey - recently sent a researcher over to the Congo.
And Jon Markman, a stock picker for MSN Money, picked Congo in his column two weeks ago. As he described it: "It's an idea for these stressed-out times so ridiculous that no one in their right mind would consider it. So, you know, it just might work."
And finally, my geologist-mining speculator friend Matt Badiali took his last two stock picks from Africa. One is a pure-play Congolese gold miner with millions of ounces beneath Congo's fertile turf and a listing on the NYSE!
Remember... as legendary investor Jim Rogers points out, the biggest investment gains are made when a region goes from "bad" to "less bad."
The DR Congo is on its way...