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Canada-the Democratic Republic of Congo relations

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Bilateral relations

Canada is active in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through diplomacy, international and humanitarian assistance, security support and trade relations. Canada contributes to the development of the DRC through its program of international aid and humanitarian assistance, in close collaboration with civil society and its international partners. Through its support of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), Canada contributes to national and international efforts to ensure stabilization and the building of a lasting peace and thereby the protection of civilians, particularly children, from violence and human rights violations.

In the DRC, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The first Canadian ambassador was accredited to the DRC in 1962, and the embassy in Kinshasa opened in 1965. The embassy was closed between 1993 and 1997 in protest against the Mobutu regime's human rights violations.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been represented in Canada by an embassy in Ottawa since 1965. 

Congolese students in Canada

In the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year, there were 2,073 Congolese studying in Canada.

Trade relations

There are significant Canadian mining investments in the DRC. Trade relations between Canada and the DRC are modest. In 2020, trade between Canada and the DRC totalled $164 million.

In 2020, the value of Canadian exports to the DRC reached $21.3 million. Canada exports mostly transport equipment, animal products, textiles, machinery and electric appliances, and mineral products.

In 2020, the value of Canadian imports from the DRC totalled $142.8 million. Canada primarily imports metals, vegetable products and wood.

In 2020, Canadian direct investment in the DRC amounted to a value of $531 million. There is no data available regarding Congolese direct investment in Canada.

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In accordance with its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada is implementing a development program in the DRC that prioritizes 3 pillars:

  1. gender equality and combatting sexual and gender-based violence
  2. health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights
  3. inclusive governance and child protection

The DRC is the tenth-largest recipient of Canadian development assistance, having received $121.02 million in the 2020-2021 fiscal year (April 1 to March 31), of which $110.58 million came from Global Affairs Canada.

A significant portion of the Canadian aid in the DRC is in the form of humanitarian assistance delivered to people affected by conflict and disasters in the DRC. Canada's humanitarian assistance in the DRC helps to provide food, treatment for acute malnutrition, drinking water, hygiene products, sanitation systems, health and protection services (including medical and psychosocial support to survivors of sexual violence), infection prevention and diagnosis services and livelihood support for vulnerable populations.

For more information on development projects involving the DRC, visit Project Browser.

Canada also funds local projects through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives managed by the Canadian embassy in Kinshasa and awards scholarships through the Canadian Francophonie Scholarship Program.

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Canada is concerned about the ongoing violence (particularly sexual and gender-based violence) and human rights violations in the DRC, especially in the eastern provinces of South Kivu, North Kivu and Ituri.

Established in 2010, MONUSCO operates in the DRC as a successor to the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo initiated in 1999. MONUSCO's mandate sets out 2 strategic priorities: protecting civilians and supporting the stabilization and strengthening of the DRC's state institutions and key governance and security reforms. Canada supports MONUSCO through deployments of military (Operation CROCODILE) and police (Royal Canadian Mounted Police peace operations) personnel, including a police team specializing in sexual and gender-based violence, and regular funding through its contribution to the regular UN budget for peace operations. Canada also provides tactical airlifts to certain UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, including MONUSCO (Operation PRESENCE).

Canada is a member of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, which it chaired in 2020. Canada is also a top donor to the UN Peacebuilding Fund, which is very active in the DRC, and announced a contribution of $15 million to the fund in 2021.

The DRC is a country of focus for Canada's National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Canada defends the rights of women and girls, advocates for women's empowerment and fights to end impunity for perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence. Canadian funding helps provide health care, as well as psychosocial and legal services, to victims of sexual and gender‑based violence, strengthen key national institutions and support local women's organizations to promote the empowerment and rights of women and girls.

Through the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program, Canada is working with civil society organizations to advance the Women, Peace and Security Program and overall peace and security efforts by targeting the gender-specific root causes of violence and supporting local advocacy efforts. The Program also promotes the active and significant participation of women in the DRC in implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, peace processes and peacebuilding.

Partnerships and organizations

To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and the Democratic Republic of Congo work closely in multilateral fora, such as:

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