The aim of this report is to analyse the causes and effects of extreme poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and make recommendations to effectively address this poverty.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a nation located in central sub-Saharan Africa. It is bordered by the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Republic of the Congo to the north, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi to the east, Angola and Zambia to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and eleventh largest in the world. The DR Congo is extremely rich in natural resources, but political instability, a lack of infrastructure and a culture of corruption have limited efforts to extract these resources. The three major cities, Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Mbuji-Mayi are also mining communities. The DR Congo’s largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of DRC’s exports in 2012.
The Congolese Civil Wars, beginning in 1996, ended the 31 year reign of Mobutu Sese Seko, devastated the country, and ultimately involved nine African nations, multiple groups of UN peacekeepers, and twenty armed groups. The wars resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people since 1998, with more than 90% of those deaths the result of malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition, aggravated by displacement and unsanitary and over-crowded living conditions. Nearly half the victims were children under five.
According to the Human Development Index (as of 2013), DR Congo has a very low level of human development, ranking 186 out of 187 countries.
The DRC is a semi-presidential republic. Semi-presidentialism is a system of government in which a president exists along with a Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The latter two are responsible to the legislature of a state. Mobutu Sese Seko was in office in the DRC, which he renamed Zaïre, for 31 years (from 1965 to 1997). A relative of Mobutu explained how the government illicitly collected revenue: “Mobutu would ask one of us to go to the bank and take out a million. We’d go to an intermediary and tell him to get five million. He would go to the bank with Mobutu’s authority, and take out ten. Mobutu got one, and we took the other nine.” Mobutu institutionalized corruption to prevent political rivals from challenging his control, leading to an economic collapse in 1996. Mobutu allegedly stole as much as $4 billion to $5 billion USD while in office.
GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
The DRC has a tropical climate with high precipitation and the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world. The Congo rainforest is one of the largest in the world, second to the Amazon rainforest. It spans over approximately 2.4 million square kilometers, most of which is in the DRC. Forests cover 60% of the land area in the DRC. 3.1% of all land is arable (capable of growing good crops), while 11.5% is dedicated to agricultural purposes, overall. In 2013, agriculture generated 20.8% of the GDP of the DRC, compared to Australia, where it was 2.4%. Map of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its provinces
Water transport makes up two thirds of all transport in the DRC. There is a total length of waterways of 15,000 km, and the capital city, Kinshasa, has the largest inland port in all of Africa. There are fewer all-weather paved highways than any other country of the same size and population; there is a total of 2250 km, with 1226 km in good condition. As of 2002, there are 229 airports; 24 with paved runways and 205 unpaved runways. There are very few telephone lines in the DRC, an average of 0.1 per 100 people. Per 100, only 2.2 people have a secure internet connection, compared to Australia’s 83.0.
There is a net national income in the DRC of $16,406,006,951 USD, (compared