IS THERE ANY HOPE?
DR Congo is extremely wealthy – and extremely big. Similar in size to Western Europe, it is rich in diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt and zinc. The country also has supplies of coltan, which is used in mobile phones and other electronic gadgets, and cassiterite, used in food packaging.
Unfortunately for the people of DR Congo, its resource wealth has rarely been harnessed for their benefit. This vast country has hardly any roads or railways, while the health and education systems lie in ruins.
Instead the natural riches have attracted rapacious adventurers, unscrupulous corporations, vicious warlords and corrupt governments, and divided the population between competing ethnic groups. Congo’s road network has plunged into bad condition as a consequence of its extended period of conflict that has caused 3000 km of the country’s 30,000 km road network to be sealed off. Less than 40% of Congo’s roads are in good condition to support cargo transportation.