The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République démocratique du Congo), formerly Zaire, is a state located in Central Africa, with a short Atlantic coastline (37 km). It is the third largest country in Africa by area after Sudan and Algeria and the twelfth largest in the world. With a population of nearly 71 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the eighteenth most populous nation in the world, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Francophone country.
The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country, involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the “African World War”. Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the east of the country. In eastern Congo, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world. The war is the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II, killing 5.4 million people.
Although citizens of the DRC are among the poorest in the world, having the second lowest nominal GDP per capita, the Democratic Republic of Congo is widely considered to be the richest country in the world regarding natural resources; its untapped deposits of raw minerals are estimated to be worth in excess of US$ 24 trillion. This is the equivalent of the gross domestic product of the United States of America and Europe combined.
We are working in Democratic Republic of Congo a part of Africa that many large aid agencies avoid because of the region’s volatility in the aftermath of a devastating civil war. But a measure of stability is returning to south-central DRC, and we believe there is reason to hope that we can work as partners with the people of three small villages in Katanga to help them rebuild their community. Our focus is extremely local and we are committed for the length of time it takes to make a difference. It is our policy to respond only to locally identified needs and while respecting local culture, knowledge and know-how.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is often called the “heart of Africa” because of its vast mineral wealth and the as yet unrealized potential of the mighty Congo River to produce hydroelectric power. The Congolese people are also a mighty resource – they are resilient and enterprising and anxious to rebuild their lives. There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, go together.” Please consider joining Pamoja Tujenge and about six hundred Congolese who live in the villages of Katebi, Kazembe, and Nzilo. We are going together into the future, and the journey will take us far.
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