Content

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Situation and cooperation


Street scene in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Open gallery gallery26145532_2../../../../../de/mediathek/bildergalerien/20150315_kongo/Kongo_0010_thumb.jpgMichael Gottschalk/photothek.net Open gallery

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

image: © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

image {{counter}} of {{maxCount}}

Street scene in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Federal Minister for Development Dr. Gerd Müller meets Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Kinshasa

Minister for Development Müller and Armand Diangienda, head of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste based in Kinshasa

Dish with a small amount of Coltan. This ore is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is an important raw material, for example for the production of mobile phones.

Federal Minister Müller holding a phone in his hand that has been made with certified raw materials from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Street scene in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Minister Müller visiting members of the indigenous BaAka people

Young members of the indigenous BaAka people perform a theatre show

Visit to a national park: elephants in a clearing

Gorilla in a national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The wire nooses that Minister Müller is holding were confiscated from poachers who had been using them for hunting

A member of the gorilla research project

Minister Gerd Müller and Johannes Kirchgatter, coordinator for Afrika at the World Wide Fund For Nature

Federal Minister for Development Gerd Müller in the rain forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Even now, more than ten years after the end of the civil war, the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) still faces huge challenges: Although it is the second largest country in Africa by area, the DR Congo has few paved roads, and the water supply and power supply are poor. A basic level of health care and education is maintained in many parts of the country only through the work of church organisations, non-governmental organisations and the intervention of international development agencies. The majority of the Congolese people live in extreme poverty, and malnutrition is very widespread. Life expectancy is just under 50 years.

In the eastern part of this fragile multi-ethnic state, clashes between the Congolese armed forces and various rebel groups frequently occur. However, in 2013, there was a political breakthrough: in February of that year, a framework treaty meant to advance a regional peace process was signed in Addis Ababa and, in autumn, the Congolese army succeeded in defeating the M23 rebel movement. The army had received decisive support from an intervention force set up under the auspices of the UN peace mission called MONUSCO (Mission de l'Organisation des Nations Unies en République Démocratique du Congo). With more than 20,000 peacekeepers ("blue berets"), MONUSCO is the world's largest peacekeeping mission.

Despite the important victory over the M23 rebels, the east of the country remains unstable. Numerous armed groups continue to fight in that area for political control, land rights and access to raw materials.

Democracy and human rights

Women in Kibati close to Goma, DR Congo

The DR Congo still has a long way to go before it can be regarded as a democratic state under the rule of law. The separation of powers exists solely on paper. Freedom of the press and other media is severely restricted. People working in the state sector misuse their positions for personal gain – often enough because wages and salaries are very poor or not paid at all. Corruption is pervasive at all government levels.

The constitution that entered into force in 2006 provides for numerous civil and social human rights. In addition, the DR Congo has ratified a number of international human rights conventions. In practice, however, the majority of the population is denied fundamental rights such as adequate food, education and health care. Government structures are too weak, there is no independent judiciary and large parts of the country are not under government control.


Economy

Street scene in Kinshasa, capital of the DR Congo

After decades of mismanagement and chaos caused by war, the economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is in ruins. Although the country has achieved growth rates of around seven per cent over recent years, these are based on a very low starting point and are not high enough to improve the lives of many Congolese.

Most people in the DR Congo are having to struggle just to survive from one day to the next. Less than 10 per cent of the population is in regular employment. The World Bank's Doing Business report for 2015, which analyses the business climate worldwide, ranks the DR Congo 184th out of 189 countries reviewed.

Great hopes rest on the extractive industries. The country has massive deposits of extractive and mineral resources. However, to a large extent, these resources are located in the battle-torn east of the republic. Rebel groups and militias, as well as army troops, are running illegal mines.


Development potential

A traditional wooden boat floates on the Congo River of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has enormous development opportunities. Its resources are highly sought after on the world markets. Furthermore, the country also has fertile soils and rain forests with a unique biodiversity. If peace and stability can be established and maintained, the DR Congo could build up the tourism industry, thereby bringing much-needed foreign exchange into the country.

What is more, with the Congo – the second longest river in Africa – and its tributaries and the Great Lakes in the eastern part of the country, the DR Congo is one of the most water-rich countries on earth. The potential to produce environmentally friendly electricity from hydropower has hardly been tapped so far.

However, this vast potential will only benefit the population at large if the resources are managed sustainably and the revenue generated from them is invested in broad-impact, pro-poor development – and not, as has been the case in the past, if it is used to increase the personal wealth of those in power or to fund militias.


Priority areas of German development cooperation with the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Germany is one of the DR Congo's largest donors. Germany pledged a total of 108 million euros for the years 2013 and 2014.

German-Congolese development cooperation concentrates on the following priority areas:

  • Water supply and sanitation
  • Protection and sustainable management of natural resources
  • Sustainable economic development

Over and above these priority areas, Germany is also providing support for the economic development of the eastern provinces of Maniema and South Kivu (Sud-Kivu), as well as for a collaborative project between the DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Of the funds newly committed at the close of 2014, twenty million euros will go to a peace fund which the KfW Entwicklungsbank  has established in collaboration with the Congolese government. The fund will be used for labour-intensive infrastructure activities, such as the construction of roads, schools and hospitals, and for activities to stimulate the agricultural sector – all of which will give a boost to the local economy. The peace fund is an important contribution by Germany towards helping to stabilise the eastern parts of the DR Congo, and thus towards supporting the UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, there.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is also receiving support through several regional projects that Germany is funding as part of its development cooperation activities in Africa.


Water supply and sanitation

Street scene in Goma, DR Congo

The DR Congo’s public water sector is in a dire state. The need for investment in the drinking water supply and sanitation systems is enormous. The high birth rate and the growing number, and unchecked spread, of shack settlements on the fringes of large cities are exacerbating the problem.

In order to supply the general public with clean and safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, Germany is providing support for the overhaul and expansion of drinking water services and sanitation systems, especially in the country’s medium-sized towns. To date, the German-backed programme has helped give 1.1 million people access to safe drinking water, with access for a further 1.8 million people planned.


Protection and sustainable management of natural resources

National park Virunga, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to the second largest contiguous tropical forest area in the world. Germany’s commitment aims to conserve the rainforest and its biological diversity, with a view also to protecting the global climate. As part of its development cooperation, Germany provides support in particular for the management of protected areas and for sustainable forest management.

In addition, Germany is working to boost the transparent, peaceable and development-oriented use of the country's natural resources. The aim is to ensure that the broad population benefits from these mineral riches. Moreover, Germany is supporting efforts by the Congolese side to ensure that public revenues from the extractive sector will flow into the national budget in accordance with the requirements of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) for transparency, efficiency and democratically legitimised monitoring.


Sustainable economic development

In recent years, the financial sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has developed noticeably – as a result, among other things, of German support. Nevertheless, the sector is still not able satisfactorily to meet the considerable demand of small and medium-sized businesses for financial services. German support in the field of microfinance is helping to expand the provision of services (e.g. micro-loans, savings accounts, payment services) for such businesses. Within the framework of its technical cooperation, Germany is also advising the Congolese central bank on how to improve its regulation and supervision of the financial sector. In addition, at the intergovernmental negotiations in 2014, it was agreed to extend the programme of "developing microfinance systems", which until then had been a priority area, into a programme supporting "sustainable economic development". The extended programme is to focus on stimulating economic cycles at local level, with the ultimate aim of securing peace by stabilising the economy and improving people's living conditions.


Transitional development assistance

The need for transitional development assistance in the DR Congo remains high. Germany is therefore supporting governmental and non-governmental organisations which are engaged in activities to reintegrate civil war survivors and refugees and improve food security and living conditions, as well as in peace building, especially in the country’s eastern provinces. Increasingly, the aim in providing transitional development assistance is to prevent further disasters and strengthen people's self-help capabilities. That is why these projects are closely dovetailed with other measures of German development cooperation.


Debt relief

The debt burden of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been reduced considerably by the G8 Member States, who launched the debt relief initiative for highly indebted poor countries (HIPC). The DR Congo reached the initiative's "completion point" in July 2010. So far, under the HIPC Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), the country has been relieved of around 16.3 billion US dollars (as at: August 2013).

Germany has forgiven the DR Congo more than 1.2 billion euros – around one billion euros of that amount under the HIPC initiative (figures for December 2013).


More information

Video

Loading the player...

Report on the visit of Federal Minister Dr. Gerd Müller to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and the Southern tip of the Central African Republic (CAR) from 11 to 15 March 2015 (in German)

Publications

BMZ glossary

Close window

 

Share page