Fact Sheets

Despite a wealth of natural resources and enormous agricultural potential, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faces serious food security challenges. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) estimates that national food production is currently 30 to 40 percent below national consumption. The country has very low agricultural productivity, high levels of animal and plant diseases, frequent flooding, isolated agricultural production areas, high population pressure and land conflicts limiting access to land. Abysmal infrastructure – roads, storage facilities, and markets – further exacerbate food insecurity. 

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is entering a critical period in its democratic transition, which began in 2006 with a new constitution. The 2011 elections were fraught with charges of fraud, and the upcoming elections face numerous political and logistical hurdles.

There are about 3.5 million out-of-school children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, an estimated 20 percent of children in the DRC will never attend school, due to prohibitive fees, distance from a school, and other societal barriers. 

The macroeconomic environment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has markedly improved in recent years, yet the lives of most Congolese have not. In 2013, the DRC gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was $288, the lowest in the world and well less than half of its 1960 value. Approximately 80 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty with the majority engaged in subsistence agriculture. The DRC has the highest number of undernourished people in Africa and the highest prevalence of malnutrition in the world. Only 14 percent of Congolese households have access to electricity.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was once renowned in Africa for its network of clinics, quality of physicians, and primary health care system. In the past three decades, the political and economic collapse of the country has had a dramatic impact on this system. Hospitals and clinics lack personnel and equipment and often run out of critical medicine and supplies. An estimated 70 percent of Congolese have little or no access to health care. Strengthening the health care system is critical to improving the health of Congolese citizens.

Since the early 1990s, illegal exploitation of minerals from artisanal mining in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa has been used to finance armed groups and criminal elements within state security forces, exacerbating ongoing conflict. Recently, international and domestic advocacy efforts have encouraged positive reforms within the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, regional governments, and the local and global private sector. U.S.-listed companies sourcing tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (known collectively as the “3T’s and gold”) from the region are now required to audit their supply chains and publicly report usage of conflict minerals. The governance, security, and implementation challenges necessary for these reforms must be adequately addressed for the minerals trade to contribute to the formal economy and inclusive development in the DRC.

Since 2002, the United States Government has been a major donor in the response to and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Deep-seated gender discrimination, harmful cultural practices, and the low social status of women and girls in the DRC contribute to high rates of SGBV. Continued population displacement, insecurity, and conflict in eastern DRC perpetuate the cycle of violence against women and girls, though most perpetrators are community members, not associated with armed groups or conflict. 

The east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has remained volatile for the last 20 years. Between 2015 and 2019, USAID/DRC will invest approximately $997 million, subject to the availability of funds, – roughly two-thirds on humanitarian aid and a third on development assistance -- to strengthen the foundation for a durable peace in eastern DRC.

Between 2015 and 2019, USAID/Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will invest approximately $173 million subject to the availability of funds in activities to strengthen Congolese national institutions, both governmental and non-governmental. To achieve the first Development Objective (DO 1) of the Mission’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), USAID/DRC technical teams will collaborate to improve Congolese institutions’ capacity to plan, set policy and legal frameworks, implement programs, and increase the flow of Congolese resources to key sectors.

To achieve the first Development Objective (DO 1) of the Mission’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), USAID/DRC technical teams will collaborate to improve Congolese institutions’ capacity to plan, set policy and legal frameworks, implement programs, and increase the flow of Congolese resources to key sectors. 

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Last updated: May 30, 2014

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