Foreign relations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Democratic Republic
of the Congo
|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (November 2012)|
Its location in the center of Africa has made the Democratic Republic of the Congo (at one time known as Zaire) a key player in the region since independence. Because of its size, mineral wealth, and strategic location, Zaire was able to capitalize on Cold War tensions to garner support from the West. In the early 1990s, however, with the end of the Cold War and in the face of growing evidence of human rights abuses, Western support waned as pressure for internal reform increased.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the grip of a civil war that has drawn in military forces from neighboring states, with Ugandan, Burundian, and Rwandan forces helping the rebel movement which occupies much of the eastern portion of the state.
One problem is the continuing theft of mineral resources, such as coltan, by occupying forces. One estimate has the Rwandan army making $350 million in 48 months from the sale of coltan, even though Rwanda has no coltan deposits. Not only can the DRC not make any money from its mineral wealth, due to its inability to tax anything in rebel-held areas, but the wealth is also used itself to finance insurgent activities.
Furthermore, relations with surrounding countries have often been driven by security concerns. Intricate and interlocking alliances have often characterized regional relations. Conflicts in Sudan, Uganda, Angola, Rwanda, and Burundi have at various times created bilateral and regional tensions. The current crisis in DRC has its roots both in the use of The Congo as a base by various insurgency groups attacking neighboring countries and in the absence of a broad-based political system in the Congo.
Disputes – international
Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the grip of a civil war that has drawn in military forces from neighboring states, with Uganda and Rwanda supporting the rebel movements that occupy much of the eastern portion of the state – Tutsi, Hutu, Lendu, Hema and other conflicting ethnic groups, political rebels, and various government forces continue fighting in Great Lakes region, transcending the boundaries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda – heads of the Great Lakes states pledge to end conflict, but localized violence continues despite UN peacekeeping efforts; most of the Congo River boundary with the Republic of the Congo is indefinite (no agreement has been reached on the division of the river or its islands, except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area).
On December 19, 2005, the International Court of Justice found against Uganda, in a case brought by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for illegal invasion of its territory, and violation of human rights.
The DRC has some illicit production of cannabis, mostly for domestic consumption. While rampant corruption and inadequate supervision leaves the banking system vulnerable to money laundering, the lack of a well-developed financial system limits the country's utility as a money-laundering center.
As the former coloniser of, Belgium and the DR Congo share a privileged relationship.
- Belgium has an embassy in Kinshasa and a consulate-general in Lubumbashi.
- DR Congo has an embassy in Brussels.
Formal diplomatic ties between the two countries were established in 1965. The Democratic Republic of the Congo maintains an embassy in Ottawa. The Canadian embassy in Kinshasa provides dual diplomatic services, to the D.R. Congo and the Republic of Congo. Canada and the D.R. Congo share full membership in Francophonie. Canada was the D.R. Congo's ninth-largest country donor of official development assistance over 1960-2009, disbursing a total of US$0.89 billion in constant 2008 US dollars, or 2.4% of DRC's total bilateral aid receipts. In 2009, Cdn.$3.3 billion in assets were held by thirteen large-scale and junior Canadian mining companies in the DRC, a ten-fold increase from 2001.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has an embassy in Athens. Both countries are full members of Francophonie. In July 2009, the Greek government pledged USD 500,000 through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for humanitarian assistance to Congo.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame met with the Democratic Republic of the Congo's President Joseph Kabila in Goma on 6 August 2009. It was the first presidential meeting between the two countries for 13 years, with the two countries having come to a disagreement in 1996 following an invasion by Rwanda into eastern Congo, a disagreement which was renewed in 1998 after a further invasion. The pair of presidents spent more than two hours in the company of each other and "reviewed all issues of common interest". Kabila referred to it as "the first giant step forward" in what was referred to as an "all new era". One month previous to the meeting both countries had appointed ambassadors to each other's capitals.
In August 2013, Rwanda accused Congolese forces of persistently shelling Congo’s territory after a flare-up of fighting in the eastern Congo.
The United States appointed its current ambassador to the D.R.C. in 2007. The D.R.C. appointed its current ambassador to the United States in 2000. The Congo has been on the State Department's travel advisory list since 1977.
- List of diplomatic missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- List of diplomatic missions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Embassy of Belgium in Kinshasa (in French and Dutch)
- Embassy of the DR Congo in Brussels (in French)
- Brown, J. C. Gordon. 2000. Blazes along a diplomatic trail: a memoir of four posts in the Canadian foreign service, Victoria, B.C.: Trafford, p. 158-180, http://www.google.ca/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=isbn:1552125246
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. "Aggregate Aid Statistics: ODA by recipient by country", OECD International Development Statistics (database). doi:10.1787/data-00061-en (accessed March 12, 2011).
- Miron, Michel. 2010. "Africa: Cumulative Canadian Mining Assets" (calculated at acquisition, construction or fabricating costs, and includes capitalized exploration and development costs, non-controlling interests, and excludes liquid assets, cumulative depreciation, and write-off), Minerals and Metals Sector, Department of Natural Resources Canada, internal document.
- Embassy of the Russian Federation in Kinshasa
- "Kagame and Kabila restore ties". IOL. 2009-08-07. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- "'New era' for DR Congo and Rwanda". BBC. 2009-08-06. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- Jenny Clover (29 August 2013). "Rwanda says Congolese forces shelling its territory". Reuters.