The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) formerly known as Zaire between 1971 and 1997, is a country in Central Africa and is by area, the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, the second largest in all of Africa after Algeria, with a population of over 78 million and a GDP of US$37.24 Billion (2017).
In 1960 the Democratic Republic of Congo was the second-most industrialised country in Africa after South Africa; it boasted a thriving mining sector and a relatively productive agriculture sector. Today the country is ranked the 41st most developed country in Africa and 176 in the world. We cannot talk about the Jewel of Africa without mentioning the Congo Wars which began in 1994 and ended in 2003. These conflicts dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in deaths of more than five million people from war and associated famine and disease. Malnutrition affects approximately two thirds of the country’s population and the country has recently been hit by Ebola outbreak in the Eastern part of the country.
The Uranium in the Atomic bomb that ended the war came from Uranium mines of Congo. The Congo is regarded as one of the richest countries in mineral resources in the world having 70% of the world’s coltan, a third of its cobalt and more than 30% of its diamond reserves giving it an estimated mineral value of US$24 Trillion. One of the most precious assets of Congo is perhaps the rain forest which is the largest outside the Amazon but under threat due to the charcoal needs of the locals as only 17.15% of the country’s population had access to electricity in 2016, according to the World Bank.
The Popular Kinshasa area is well known for hosting the ‘RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE’ fight between Ali and Foreman in 1974. The Capital city is in fact the largest French Speaking city in the world surpassing Paris and lies directly opposite but separated by the Congo River, Brazzaville which is the capital of Republic of Congo. The DRC has the only location in the world you can find the great apes like the endangered bonobos and the eastern lowland gorillas.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is benefiting from the Congo river which has made it possible through the Grand Inga Dam hydroelectricity Project, an US$80 Billion project, which when completed will be the Largest Hydroelectric project in the world, generating an expected 40 000 MW of electricity. The country which is equivalent to the size of Western Europe can power Africa through its Congo river and its minerals can lift its people out of poverty.
On the Neil Economic scale, the current price of a litre of Petrol is 2230 CDF (R19.87) and the price of a 300ml coke is 1 722 CDF (R15.34), which to date makes this our most expensive country on the scale to purchase these items.
When departing from Kinshasa, one looks back at a country where son took over from assassinated father as President and then a new dawn, with a new President H. E. Tshisekedi, we all have a hope that this nation of extreme wealth in resource, will end a two decade underlined war and that peace will come to its people. This nation of diamonds, gold, water and land, needs a break and needs to truly rise and with all this history, we hope that the DRC will turn “ Conflict into Potential “ very soon.