Democratic Republic of the Congo Energy and Security
Economy and energy
Despite its great natural wealth (gold, diamonds, copper, cobalt, uranium, radium, coltan, chromium, bauxite, cassiterite and other precious minerals, as well as oil), Congo remains one of the poorest countries in the world, heavily dependent on aid international. Agriculture, in particular plantation agriculture (coffee, palm oil, rubber, cotton, sugar, tea and cocoa), represents the most important sector in percentage terms in the composition of GDP.
The industry remains below the 25 percentage point mark and is underdeveloped relative to the country’s potential, particularly in the mining and hydroelectric sectors. Services and infrastructures have improved, also thanks to international and Chinese investments and aid, but they are still inadequate. The informal economy is widespread, also facilitated by the weakness of state institutions.
Since 2001, the government of Joseph Kabila has undertaken, under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund, a series of reforms aimed at stabilizing the most important macroeconomic variables, reducing the exorbitant external debt. and focusing on the development of infrastructure, health, education, employment and housing. Progress has been hampered above all by instability and rampant corruption, which has been superimposed on the recent international economic and financial crisis. After the negative peak of 2008-09, macroeconomic indicators have marked a slow recovery, even if investments remain below the enormous potential of the country, due to risk variables that are far too high. Despite the countless obstacles, the GDP of Congo is growing at a rate of 6% per year, even if this does not translate into an equally distributed well-being.
According to indexdotcom, illicit extraction and illegal trafficking of raw materials, as well as the insecurity that leads to the closure of some sites, deprive the country of important resources and feed the numerous armed groups.
Defense and security
The transformation in May 2010 of the Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies en République démocratique du Congo (Monuc) into Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour la stabilization en République démocratique du Congo (Monusco) recorded the transition from a logic of peacekeeping to a political stabilization, also giving Monusco a peace enforcing mandate, activated in 2012 to counter the rise of M23. The Congolese regular army is heavily deconstructed, despite the support that international organizations offer in terms of troop reorganization and training.
The defeat of M23 and the other armed groups still active
In 2012, Colonel Sultani Makenga mutinied, lamenting the failure to comply with the 2009 reintegration agreements and giving birth to the Mouvement 23 Mars (M23), a force made up of former militiamen, mostly Tutsis, who had previously been reintegrated into the regular army. A report drawn up by the United Nations highlighted how the rebel group was supported by Rwanda, also as a reaction to the presence, in Congolese territory, of the Forces démocratiques de libération du Ruanda (FDLR), a movement that opposes the government of President Kagame and which until 2013 had never actually been prosecuted by the Kinshasa regular army. Faced with the real danger represented by the force of the M23, the mandate of MONUSCO has been strengthened, including for the first time the response to fire. The joint forces of the UN peacekeepers and the Congolese regular army managed to neutralize the movement only at the end of 2013, when, parallel to the military counter-offensive, peace negotiations opened in Kampala. The negotiations, which saw the commitment of the Ugandan President Museweni and a certain involvement of the Rwandan government, lasted for months, until the Nairobi Declaration. While Makenga is a refugee in an unknown location, doubts remain about Kampala’s willingness to hand over the fleeing rebels to the Kinshasa government. With difficulty defeating the M23, the joint army is taking action against the FDLR. In eastern Congo, however, other movements remain active: the ADF-Nalu, pro-Ugandan and of Islamist origin, various Mai-Mai groups, i.e. formations of different matrix and opposing each other.