The DRC


The Democratic Republic of Congo

Brief information

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is Africa’s second largest country and is home to over 75 million people.


Since 1998, violent conflict and poverty in the DRC have killed over 5 million men, women, and children—more than any war since World War II. More than 1.3 million people who have been forced from their homes live in crowded camps across the country.


The humanitarian crisis is especially severe in eastern Congo where in some areas two out of three women are survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence. Tens of thousands of children are recruited to become soldiers, and millions of people are denied the chance to earn a living due to continuing instability.


Focus Congo was founded to bring to light these atrocities, while advocating for action that will allow the people of Congo to forge their own path to stability and peace.


Despite overwhelming odds, there is hope across eastern Congo today. Communities are working together to create economic opportunities, and leaders from around the world are working in partnership with the people of the DRC for a new future for the region.


Did You Know?

With an estimated population of 75 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the fourth most populous country in Africa, and the 19th most populous country in the world. At 2,3 million square kilometers (slightly less than one-fourth the size of the U.S.), Congo is the second largest country in the African continent (after Algeria) and covers a land area larger than the Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, and Norway combined.

Mining

The Congo is the world's largest producer of cobalt ore, and a major producer of copper and diamonds, the latter coming from the Kasai province in the West. By far the largest mines in the Congo are located in the Katanga (formerly Shaba) province in the south, and are highly mechanized, with a maximum capacity of several millions of tons per year of copper and cobalt ore, and with the capability of refining it into metal. In terms of annual carats produced, the DRC is the second largest diamond-producing nation in the world, with artisanal and small-scale miners accounting for most production.

Economy

The Democratic Republic of Congo is widely considered to be the richest country in the world regarding natural resources; its untapped deposits of raw minerals are estimated to be worth in excess of US$24 trillion. The Congo has 70% of the world's coltan, a third of its cobalt, more than 30% of its diamond reserves, and a tenth of its copper. Despite such vast mineral wealth, the economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has declined drastically since the mid-1980s. The African country generated up to 70% of its export revenue from minerals in the 1970s and 1980s, and was particularly hit when resource prices deteriorated at that time. By 2005, 90% of the DRC's revenues derived from its minerals.


The country's woes mean that, despite its potential, its citizens are among the poorest people on earth, the Congolese being consistently assigned the lowest, or near lowest, nominal GDP per capita in the world. The DRC is also one of the twenty lowest ranked countries on the Corruption Perception Index.

Economy

The Democratic Republic of Congo is widely considered to be the richest country in the world regarding natural resources; its untapped deposits of raw minerals are estimated to be worth in excess of US$24 trillion. The Congo has 70% of the world's coltan, a third of its cobalt, more than 30% of its diamond reserves, and a tenth of its copper. Despite such vast mineral wealth, the economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has declined drastically since the mid-1980s. The African country generated up to 70% of its export revenue from minerals in the 1970s and 1980s, and was particularly hit when resource prices deteriorated at that time. By 2005, 90% of the DRC's revenues derived from its minerals.


The country's woes mean that, despite its potential, its citizens are among the poorest people on earth, the Congolese being consistently assigned the lowest, or near lowest, nominal GDP per capita in the world. The DRC is also one of the twenty lowest ranked countries on the Corruption Perception Index.