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Former US Envoy to Africa Great Lakes Region, Dr J. Peter Pham, to Visit Burundi

J Peter Pham, a Atlantic Council Vice President for Research and Regional Initiatives and Director of the Africa Center

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Rainbow Rare Earths is a mining company operating two countries in Africa through two initiatives: the Phalaborwa Project in South Africa and the high-grade Gakara Project in Burundi.  The company stock is traded on the London Stock Exchange, under RBW. According to information received by AfroAmerica Network sources in Burundi,  Dr J. Peter Pham, the former US Envoy to the Great Lakes of Africa under  President Donald Trump, between 2018-2020. was recently appointed to the Board of Directors, as a Non-Executive Director. He is expected to visit the Gakara Rare Earth mining site in Burundi  this week. 

Dr J Peter Pham, a US citizen, born in Paris,  France  from parents of Vietnamese origins, is an expert on Africa. He successfully participated in peace processes in Liberia, Sierra Leone and other countries in Africa.  After graduating from the University of Chicago, he became a Catholic Priest, preaching in the Parish of Peoria, Illinois. It is during his time as a priest that he participated in then peace deals brokered by the Vatican. Afterward, he left the priesthood and joined Atlantic Council.  At Atlantic Council he focused  East Africa, Horn of Africa, Kenya, Maghreb, Morocco, Sahel, Somalia, West Africa with a special emphasis on African Security, Piracy, US Foreign Policy, Violent Extremism, Weapons Trafficking.

Before being appointed US Envoy to the Africa Great Lakes, he allegedly was considered for the position Under-Secretary of State for African Affairs (see AfroAmerica Network here: Atlantic Council VP of Africa Center, Dr J. Peter Pham, likely being considered for Under Secretary of State for African Affairs)

 Dr J. Peter Pham was known to be a vocal critic of dictators in Africa, especially the  Democratic Republic of the Congo's Joseph Kabila and the transition in DRC, especially  the 2016 - 2019 political transition and the ensuing crisis that engulfed the country and its institutions. However, critics wondered why, before and during his term as the US Envoy in the region,  he never raised clear concerns against other  dictators in the Great Lakes of Africa, such as Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and General Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

The visit in Burundi, although related to the exploitation of mineral resources, by a former US Envoy to the region may mark the gradually warming relations between the current government of Burundi led by Evariste Ndayishimiye and the West, especially the USA and the European Union.(see: Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye Normalizes Relations With European Union: A Major Step Forward for Burundi)

This visit may also highlight the increasing importance of rare minerals around the World, following the recent shortages in electronics chips and the competition between China and the West in the exploitation of  rare minerals in region.


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