Democratic Republic of the Congo
Rich in natural resources and with a large population, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has enormous economic and social potential. Little has been done, however, to develop this potential for the benefit of the Congolese, and so extreme poverty persists throughout the country. The United Nations Development Programme ranks the DRC 186 out of 187 countries on its 2012 human development index. Fifty-nine percent of the Congolese people live on less than US$1.25/day.
A reduced demand from industrialized countries for base metal, wood and coffee, and the decline in export prices of mine products during the 2009 economic crisis, have adversely affected economic activity and employment in the DRC.
As well, the country's government has limited capacity to ensure the security of the citizens and provide them with health, education, water, and sanitation services. In the eastern part of the DRC, the resurfacing and radicalization of armed groups is a matter of concern. People continue to be displaced and crime is on the rise, especially sexual violence against women and girls, which has become a major problem.
Children and youth make up a large segment of the population—47 percent of the people of the DRC are less than 15 years old. This group is rather vulnerable, given the high level of poverty everywhere in the country and the inadequacy of existing facilities to provide basic health care.
In 2006, after a decade of war and 32 years of dictatorship had demolished the country's institutions, the DRC held its first democratic presidential elections. A second election was held in 2011. Decentralization of government is underway, above all to give people easier access to basic services.
In 2014, Democratic Republic of Congo was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada’s international development efforts.
Canada's international development program in the DRC is aligned with the country's poverty reduction and growth strategy paper (PDF, 1.6 KB, 126 pages) developed by the Government of the DRC and based on five pillars:
- Promoting good governance and consolidating peace through institutional capacity-building
- Consolidating macroeconomic stability and growth
- Improving access to social services and reducing vulnerability
- Combatting HIV/AIDS
- Supporting dynamism at the community level
Capacity building of public institutions is central to Canada's strategy in the DRC.
The goal of Canada's international development program in the DRC is to help establish a more democratic, prosperous, and equitable state—one that will be able to reduce poverty sustainably and secure the future of its children and youth. Canada also provides humanitarian assistance to communities in the DRC affected by conflict.
Children and youth
Canada is helping to strengthen the DRC's health system, focusing on the most urgent needs of the least privileged, especially of mothers, children and youth. This includes making quality primary health care more available to the least privileged and building the management capacities of decision-makers in the health sector to make the system more effective.
Canada also focuses on strengthening the capacities of government officials, local authorities, and civil society to help the tens of thousands of women and girls who are victims of sexual violence in the eastern provinces of the DRC and in helping to fight such crimes.
Key anticipated results
- Decrease rate of maternal mortality, from 549 deaths per 100,000 women in 2007 to 322 deaths per 100,000 women by 2015
- Decrease rate of under five child mortality, from 148 deaths per 1,000 children in 2007 to 60 deaths per 1,000 children by 2015
Progress on Aid Effectiveness
The DRC adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages). The Government of the DRC has established a framework to make aid more effective. The country's poverty reduction and growth strategy paper contains priority action plans. Donor countries are showing a clear willingness to align their activities with the DRC's priorities. The international community has pledged to support a common country-assistance framework, which it has developed in response to the government's program.
In the interest of coordinating Canadian assistance with assistance from other donors, and as requested by the Government of the DRC, Canada is focusing its efforts on the Kinshasa area and in the Kivu provinces.
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (in Kinshasa province)
- Trained 82 pharmacists in 35 health zones on the management of essential drugs;
- Increased warehouse capacity for stocking essential drugs from 1,650 to 2,000 square metres; and
- Increased from 85 percent to 90 percent the availability of essential drugs on the official list of the Ministry's of Health, and distribution increased from 80 percent to 85 percent of actual demand to CAMESKIN.
Equality between women and men
- Led to the drop of total number of cases of sexual violence reported in North and South Kivu from 8,431 in 2010 to 8,211 in 2011. Of that number, some 1,534 accessed health care, 2,724 victims acquired new skills and were able to sustain income-generating activities, and 1,107 victims received legal assistance.
- Helped the Ministry of Gender launch its first-ever report on the incidence of sexual violence.
- Continued to strengthen the management capacity of the Central Bank of the Congo.
- Supported the National Independent Electoral Commission in its preparations for the November 2011 Presidential and legislative elections.
Children and youth
- Increased access to health centres from 130,000 patients in 2009 to 166,000 in 2010, in targeted health districts
- Increased immunization coverage from 83 percent in 2009 to 96 percent in 2010 in the same districts
- Increased the number of childbirths assisted by trained health staff in targeted districts from 74 percent in 2009 to 90 percent in 2010
- Provided, since 2006:
- health care to more than 55,613 victims of sexual violence
- psychosocial care to more than 55,108 victims
- socio-economic support to reintegrate into their communities to more than 14,974 victims
- Supported the review of 5,157 legal claims by victims of sexual violence, of which 2,201 were sent to court; 825 led to judicial decisions and 659 accused were convicted and sentenced
- Supported the National Independent Electoral Commission in its preparations for the presidential and legislative elections including registration of 32 million voters; recruitment, training and deployment of 356,303 temporary election officials; accreditation of 160,000 local and international observers and journalists; and dissemination of 10,000 copies of the code of conduct to all political parties
Children and youth
- Helped increase access to functional health centres for 300,000 people in the targeted health districts, reaching almost three out of every four inhabitants
- Helped increase the number of childbirths assisted by trained health staff in targeted districts from 41 percent—the provincial rate—to 74 percent
- Helped provide health care and psychosocial care to more than 45,000 victims of sexual violence in the conflict-affected eastern provinces of North and South Kivu, provided almost 8,500 of them with new income-generating skills and 2,000 with legal assistance
International development projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
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