Why is the Democratic Republic of the Congo undeveloped

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Basics of the Congolese foreign policy, regional relations

The new President Félix Tshisekedi is committed to good neighborly and peaceful relations with all neighboring countries and to regional and international cooperation. Immediately after assuming the office of president, he visited several neighboring countries and intensified regional cooperation.

The volatile security situation in eastern DR Congo, tensions in bilateral relations between neighboring countries and the Ebola crisis pose security challenges for the crisis-prone region of the Great Lakes.

The Addis Ababa Framework Agreement of 2013 remains an important basis for promoting sustainable peace and stability in the region. It obliges the DR Congo to intensify efforts to reform the security sector (army and police), to consolidate state authority, especially in Eastern Congo, to reform state institutions and to continue democratization and reconciliation. The states of the region have committed themselves not to interfere and to strengthen regional cooperation. Eliminating the “negative forces” (militias) is also one of the obligations of the framework agreement. For a few months now, at the initiative of the DR Congo, efforts have been intensified. At a four-person summit in Luanda on July 12th. the presidents from Angola, DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda agreed on a coordinated approach to stabilizing Eastern Congo and fighting Ebola.

Relations between neighboring countries are also characterized by reciprocal refugee movements. Angola and the DR Congo have reached an agreement (with the support of the UNHCR) on cooperation in the return of around 25,000 refugees from Angola to their Congolese home region in the Kasai provinces.

Close relations are also maintained with South Africa.

The International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Development Community in Southern Africa (SADC) also provide a framework for maintaining foreign policy contacts.

President Tshisekedi has also stepped up cooperation with the African Union (AU). In February 2019 he was elected second Vice President of the AU in Addis Ababa.

Tshisekedi is looking for a closer economic connection to the region, for example through the intended acceptance into the East African Community (EAC).

Membership in international and regional organizations, International Criminal Court

The DR Congo is a member of the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Institutions (International Monetary Fund and World Bank), the African Union, a number of regional organizations (CEEAC, SADC, COMESA, CIRGL) and the International Organization of Francophonie.

The DR Congo is a focal point of the work of the International Criminal Court. The DR Congo ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in April 2002 and in April 2004 referred the situation in the DR Congo to the court. Investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity that have occurred in the context of the armed conflict in the DR Congo since July 1, 2002 (entry into force of the Rome Statute), have been carried out since then. With the conviction of the Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga in March 2012, the International Criminal Court passed its first ever judgment. On March 21, 2016, Jean Pierre Bemba, leader of the Mouvement pour la Liberation du Congo (MLC) political party, was found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by troops in the Central African Republic under Bemba's command . On June 21, 2016, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. However, the judgment was overturned on appeal in June 2018.

The United Nations in the Congo, MONUSCO

The peace mission MONUSCO (United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of the Congo) is the largest UN peacekeeping mission worldwide: 15,292 soldiers, 257 staff officers and 660 military observers are deployed there. In the context of the last extension by the United Nations Security Council, the mandate was specifically geared towards the protection of civilians. After an independent evaluation of the mission over the next few months, a step-by-step, progressive and comprehensive strategy aimed at stabilizing the Congo and withdrawing MONUSCO is to be developed at the end of 2019.

European Union missions

The European Union and its member states are the most important development partners and also trading partners of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DR Congo received 620 million euros from the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020). The priorities of European development cooperation are good governance / public financial management, infrastructure, health, the environment and private sector promotion. On May 29, 2017, the European Union passed sanctions (travel / property restrictions) against nine people who hold management positions in the state administration and in the chain of command of the security forces in the DR Congo. On December 12, 2016, sanctions were imposed on seven people for obstructing the electoral process and for the related human rights violations.

Relations with other states and institutions outside Africa

Even under the Trump administration, the United States has expressed clear criticism of the Congolese government for lack of democracy and human rights violations. At the same time, Tshisekedi's readiness for close cooperation and support can be observed. China supports the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council on the DR Congo with no public criticism. At the same time, the Congolese policy is focusing on the further expansion of relations, especially in the economic field. Since April 2019, Huang Xia of China has been the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region.

Also important are India and Pakistan, the largest troop contributors to the MONUSCO contingent, the World Bank and other multilateral development banks and the World Monetary Fund (IMF).

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This text represents basic information. It is updated regularly. No guarantee can be given for the correctness and completeness of the information.