Democratic Republic of the Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Population 74,877,030 (World Bank 2014)
Independence 1960, Belgium
Languages French (official), Lingala
Form of government Republic
GDP (2014) $34. 68 billion; per capita (2014): $700

 

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), located in central Africa. It borders the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan to the north, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to the East, Zambia and Angola to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the 2nd largest country in Africa by area. DRC, the most populated officially Francophone country, is the 4th most populated nation in Africa.

DRC has experienced periods of civil conflict and violence since independence in 1960. The civil war of 1998-2003, pitting government forces against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda, claimed up to six million lives as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. A peace deal was negotiated in 2003 and a transitional government was formed, but violence and unrest continued to flare up. In early 2013, the United Nations secured a regional agreement to end ongoing rebellion in eastern areas.

Rebel groups remain active in certain provinces, exacerbating issues of social conflict and internal displacement. A new disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) strategy was launched in 2014, and peacebuilding and economic development efforts are moving forward. The 2011-2015 Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy emphasizes growth, job creation and climate change mitigation. 

Government Title Name
President H.E. Joseph KABILA
Prime Minister H.E. Augustin PONYO
Minister of Planning H.E. Alexis THAMBWE MWAMBA
g7+ Focal Point Mr. Theo KANENE, Director of Aid Coordination

New Deal Implementation

DRC has been a member of the g7+ since 2010 and has endorsed the New Deal. DRC is one of the 7 pilot countries implementing the New Deal; it completed an inclusive fragility assessment in 2012, and has established a draft PSG indicator framework that is currently being operationalized.

The head of state is the President. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the President and must be a member of the leading party or coalition in the National Assembly. The cabinet is composed of Ministers of State, appointed by the Prime Minister in consultation with the President.

The national parliament is bicameral and composed of the Senate and the National Assembly. The Senate has 108 seats, and members are indirectly elected by provincial assemblies. The National Assembly has 500 seats, and members are directly elected in a combination of proportional and majority votes. The last Senate election took place in 2007. The last National Assembly election took place in 2011, but was marred by violence and complaints of fraud. The President’s party is the leading party in both houses of parliament.

DRC’s 26 provinces each have elected governors and provincial assemblies whose members serve five-year terms. The next provincial elections are scheduled for 2015, with legislative and presidential elections slated for 2016.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a vast country; geographically, it is roughly two-thirds the size of the European Union. Ongoing conflict and lack of infrastructure has been a challenge to reconstruction and socioeconomic development. The poverty rate is high; the country ranks second to last of 187 countries on the Human Development Index. An estimated 2.3 million Congolese people are internally displaced, and at disproportionate risk of hunger and poor health outcomes. Delivery of social services is limited, but has improved since 2011.

The 2011-2015 Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy targets the following key challenges (i) population control, (ii) reconstruction and rehabilitation of basic socioeconomic infrastructure and establishing a policy of redistribution, (iii) security and the consolidation of peace and democracy, (iv) improvement of financial and economic governance, (v) institutional capacity and developing human resources in public administration, (vi) mobilization of resources, (vii) environmental protection with consideration of issues related to climate change, and (viii) decentralization.

DRC’s economic growth since 2010 has been well above average for sub-Saharan Africa, driven in part by investment in mining and oil. The government has prioritized good governance and transparency in extractive industries, as well as an improved business environment for domestic entrepreneurship and foreign investment in order to diversify the economy.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is estimated to have $24 trillion (equivalent to the combined Gross Domestic Product of Europe and the United States) worth of untapped deposits of minerals including the world’s largest reserves of Coltan and significant quantities of the world’s Cobalt.

Lack of physical infrastructure, corruption, and a limited regulatory framework in certain sectors are obstacles to investment, but are addressed in the country’s national development strategy. DRC was ranked among the top ten countries in the world for business reforms in the 2015 Doing Business report.

Sectors targeted by the government for expansion include agribusiness, basic infrastructure, transportation, telecommunication, energy, and construction. In agribusiness, in particular, the state has established Special Economic Zones for agro-industry development and has actively pursued foreign direct investment in this area.