Internal conflict and wars have seriously affected Africa’s development and caused immense suffering to its population. One of the bloodiest wars since World War II took place in the Great Lakes region. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the third-largest country in Africa, had the sad privilege to be the main battlefield of the conflicts, which involved seven neighboring countries. This war, which some labeled as the “Third World War,” directly or indirectly affected about 100 million people. However, since early 2001, under the leadership of its new president, Joseph Kabila, the DRC has made remarkable progress in moving from conflict to reconstruction.
The collapse of the expenditure control system and revenue collection, and the resulting monetization of an uncontrolled budgetary deficit, were identified as the primary source of the vicious circle of hyperinflation and falling currency that plagued the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) economy until the end of 2000.
As described in Chapter 2, by late 2000 the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was facing a situation of widespread conflict and war, which was compounding the negative effects of a decades-long decline in output resulting from economic mismanagement, corruption, and civil strife.1 To reverse that trend, in early 2001 the new government decided to make a U-turn in its economic policies, including by redefining the role of the state from predator to facilitator of private sector–led activity. To achieve its goal, the government designed a well-thought-out road map of comprehensive and far-reaching structural reforms with the help of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; the former concentrated on macroeconomic structural measures and the latter on most other areas.2 The IMF supported the government’s measures through a staff-monitored program (SMP) that covered the period June 1, 2001–March 31, 2002 and, since July 2002, through a three-year arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). World Bank support took the form of six credits/projects, as described in Sections III and IV.
This chapter reviews efforts regarding the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between 1997 and 2003. Reflecting the evolving politico-military situation and the shifting priorities in terms of DDR, the chapter contains the following sections. Section I analyzes the period 1997–99, from the takeover of power and the challenge of demobilizing soldiers of the army of the ousted regime to the reorientation of the DDR strategy in response to the signing of the Lusaka cease-fire agreement. Section II covers the period 1999–2001, focusing on small-scale endeavors that kept DDR on the agenda of government and the international community pending the political resolution of the Congolese conflict. Section III examines the period 2001–03 during which the international community, with an unprecedented regional approach to DDR, intensified its efforts to respond to the ever more complex situation until the government finally assumed principal responsibility for DDR in the country. The chapter closes with Section IV, which reflects on lessons learned from this multiyear process for the national DDR program in the DRC, and for similar programs elsewhere.
The intrinsic links between climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have elevated global calls for policymakers to take immediate action on both fronts. Fiscal stimulus supporting recovery from the pandemic can be designed to simultaneously address climate change. In turn, this could help reduce the spread of future pandemics as climate change is a threat multiplier for pandemics. Destruction of the environment and biodiversity makes pandemics more likely while pollution and other man-made factors driving climate change weaken the health of human beings, raising their vulnerability to viruses and other diseases.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has made remarkable progress in the past three years to extricate itself from one of the bloodiest wars since World War II. The war had devastating effects on the population, which had already suffered from the plundering of the country’s vast natural resources during the colonial period and under the corrupt regime of President Mobutu. The DRC is rated today as one of the poorest countries in the world, a tragic irony and infamous episode in human history, characterized by the globalization of greed.
Every second, the region has averaged 106 new internet users.1 This fast-paced digital revolution holds the promise of transforming economies and people’s lives. It takes on added importance as countries across the region grapple with the unprecedented health and socio-economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. All policy levers are being deployed to protect lives and livelihoods. Digital solutions have helped to provide more resilience and allowed for rapid, flexible, and inclusive policy responses to the pandemic.