Dan Gertler announced Yabiso in January 2021 as a new way of doing business that brings together the Congolese to share in the DRC’s mineral wealth. The first of its kind in the DRC, Yabiso’s model is based on the premise that the success of a business is always tied to that of the communities which surround it, thereby making a tangible difference to the fortunes of the people of the Congo – and beyond.
Meaning “it’s ours” in Lingala, Yabiso will be fully licensed and ready to launch in the first quarter 2021. Once it’s up and running, any Congolese citizen can acquire shares in the venture, from a minimum investment of €50, all the way up to €10,000, in order to benefit from the future royalty stream from Metalkol mining project. Yabiso will use 30% of the project’s royalty stream to return to the community shareholders.
Shares will be open to purchase for individual citizens only, meaning that corporates, politicians or regulators are excluded from participation. A rigorous screening process will be put into place to ensure that community shareholders will truly be able the only ones to reap the benefits of their participation in Yabiso. However, having spent more than 20 years in the DRC, Dan Gertler recognized that even small investments are difficult to muster for ordinary citizens. To facilitate their participation, Gertler is facilitating their involvement with a loan mechanism to cover up to 100% of the share value, which will be interest free for five years.
Yabiso rings in a new era of participatory business and investment in the country – one that allows the public to benefit from the DRC’s rich natural resources: “I am mindful of the criticism that the benefits of the mining industry in the DRC can escape those for whom the benefits should be most clear. With no DRC stock market, and no ability to co-invest in any operation, the options for the everyday Congolese are extremely limited. This isn’t right. I am taking action now and hope that by doing this I will begin a new approach to investing in the DRC. It allows everyday Congolese to participate directly in what we all hope will be a successful and innovative investment project.”