Moïse Katumbi Chapwe
Moïse Katumbi Chapwe is a Congolese politician and businessman. Governor of the Katanga Province, he was located in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from 2007 to September 2015.
He was a member of the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) until September 2015. Described by The Economist as “probably the second most powerful man in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After the president, Joseph Kabila”. Jeune Afrique named him “African of the Year” in 2015.
Born on December 28, 1964 Moïse Katumbi Chapwe was born to a Congolese mother and a Greek father, Nissim Soriano. Katumbi’s father, a Greek Sephardic Jew, fled Rhodes Island in 1938 with his two sisters. This was after the introduction by the Italian fascist regime of the discriminatory Racial Laws (Rhodes was under Italian occupation since 1912). He settled in Katanga, a province of the Congo, which was a Belgian colony at the time. Katumbi’s mother was of Kazembe royalty of Lunda People of Congo and Zambia and his grandfather was Mwata Kazembe XIV.(Chief of Lunda Kingdom) The family adopted the name Katumbi from a great grandfather on his mother’s side. Katumbi grew up in the village of Kashobwe in the Congo near Lake Mweru near the border of Zambia. His father was involved in the fishing trade.
He studied at the Kiwele school of Lubumbashi and the Kapolowe mission. He is married to Carine Katumbi. His older half-brother is Raphael Katebe Katoto, a businessman and retired politician who was a member of RCD-Goma and led a political party that opposed Congolese president Joseph Kabila in 2006.
One of the wealthiest people in the DRC Katumbi is has been the subject of two documentaries by director Thierry Michel. Katanga Business and The Irresistible Rise of Moïse Katumbi.
Elected as a deputy in the National Assembly in 2006. Then he was elected as the first democratically elected Governor of the Katanga Province in January 2007. He received 94 votes out of 102.
Under Katumbi’s governance he has been credited with bringing economic revival to the province through developing infrastructure. Encouraging foreign investment with tax breaks and reduced government procedures, and targeting corruption. Because of Katumbi’s efforts as governor, local taxes increased from $80 million in 2007 to more than $3 billion in 2014. Annual revenues increased from 100 million in 2007 to 1.5 billion by 2013.
Shortly after he took office as governor, Katumbi implemented an export ban for raw minerals, including cobalt, forcing major mining companies to either build processing plants in the province or pay a tax on the exported concentrate. Under Katumbi, copper production increased from 8,000 metric tons in 2006 to more than 1 million tons in 2014.
Katumbi resigned as governor and from his political party in September 2015, the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy. On 22 June 2016, he was convicted, in absentia, of selling a house that was not his and sentenced to 36 months in jail. This was seen as part of President Joseph Kabila’s attempts to hold on to power.