Democratic Republic of the Congo

country in Central Africa

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), also known as DR Congo, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. From 1971 to 1997 it was named Zaire. The DRC 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 second largest country in Africa by area, the largest in Subsaharan Africa, and the eleventh largest in the world. Its capital is Kinshasa.

Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Location of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa

Quotes edit

  • The modern Democratic Republic of Congo remains poor because its citizens still lack the economic institutions that create the basic incentives that make a society prosperous. It is not geography, culture, or the ignorance of its citizens or politicians that keep the Congo poor, but its extractive economic institutions. These are still in place after all these centuries because political power continues to be narrowly concentrated in the hands of an elite who have little incentive to enforce secure property rights for the people, to provide the basic public services that would improve the quality of life, or to encourage economic progress. Rather, their interests are to extract income and sustain their power. They have not used this power to build a centralized state, for to do so would create the same problems of opposition and political challenges that promoting economic growth would. Moreover, as in much of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, infighting triggered by rival groups attempting to take control of extractive institutions destroyed any tendency for state centralization that might have existed.
    • Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (2012)
  • It is difficult to stop aid for human rights violations without the population suffering. That is why we continued to offer help through reliable NGOs. Preference was given to Belgian NGOs, because the domestic NGOs were often under the influence of the Congolese government. The importance of human rights has only increased, partly due to the introduction of the International Criminal Court, which tackles violations of human rights.
  • China is operating in Congo in a brutal way that smacks of slavery. Congolese work in mines for very low wages. China is not concerned with sustainability and often commits a predatory economy. The country also does not respect human rights. Still, the developing country's government is letting itself be wrapped up, because the Chinese don't make moral demands like the West does. China works with a closed stock exchange in Congo. For example, they build 20 schools in exchange for being able to operate 10 copper mines for 1 year. But that is often peasant deception: the value of the school buildings is sometimes only 10% of the value of the extracted raw materials.
  • One of the biggest threats to biodiversity is the continued loss of virgin forests. Every year, an area of forest corresponding to the size of Hungary disappears. However, the rate of deforestation has fallen by 40 per cent since the 1990s, according to the FAO. Deforestation has ceased in rich countries. In the United States and Europe forested areas are increasing. In China and India, too, forests are now growing, suggesting that rising populations and economies do not have to cause overexploitation. Were it not for deforestation in seven countries – Brazil, Paraguay, Angola, Congo, Tanzania, Indonesia and Myanmar – the world’s forests would have grown in the 2010s. That is not much of a comfort, given the unique natural values lost with those forests. But it shows that the notion that we are experiencing a relentless global deforestation does not hold.
    • Johan Norberg, The Capitalist Manifesto: Why the Global Free Market Will Save the World (2023)
  • What we’ve been hearing from the panelists is how the global food system works right now... It’s based on large multinational companies, private profits, and very low international transfers to help poor people (sometimes no transfers at all). It’s based on the extreme irresponsibility of powerful countries with regard to the environment. And it’s based on a radical denial of the economic rights of poor people... We’ve just heard from the Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many point a finger of blame at the DRC and other poor countries for their poverty. Yet we don’t seem to remember, or want to remember, that starting around 1870, King Leopold of Belgium created a slave colony in the Congo that lasted for around 40 years; and then the government of Belgium ran the colony for another 50 years. In 1961, after independence of the DRC, the CIA then assassinated the DRC’s first popular leader, Patrice Lumumba, and installed a US-backed dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, for roughly the next 30 years. And in recent years, Glencore and other multinational companies suck out the DRC’s cobalt without paying a level of royalties and taxes. We simply don’t reflect on the real history of the DRC and other poor countries struggling to escape from poverty. Instead, we point fingers at these countries and say, “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you govern yourselves properly?”
  • Of course colonial governance can only return with the consent of the country in question. The nationalist leaders in developing countries are probably not eager to see this happen. But the people- given those decades of ‘anti-colonial disaster’- possibly are.

See also edit

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