Poverty and Suffering in Africa, Dimensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Ntsikayezwe Yahya Fakude
16 min readOct 4, 2017

Africa also known by many as the geographical derivation of the human race, despite it’s history and reputation as one of the first ideologically diverse continents within the Western world remains one of the poorest regions in the world today. This truth is nevertheless as a consequence of both the ceaseless political conflict as well as civil divergence which has haunted this region for centuries.This veracity has however nonetheless ensured populations within the precincts of this reality akin to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda are unable to escape the confines of paucity. As a result of this incidence, this report will examine the effects of poverty with regard to not only a populace but the process of development. Furthermore this analysis will examine the effects of poverty upon the Democratic Republic of Congo with regard to the dimensions this form of anguish places upon its citizens. In addition this report will examine the strategies put in place by the global arena to alleviate this predicament with regard to not only the implementation technique but effectiveness. The aim of this report is however centred on increasing society’s awareness with regard to the severity of poverty as a humanitarian issue for not only Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo but the entire international community.


Following two decades of unprecedented economic growth within Africa recent studies have shown that 40% of people living within the continent today are still living under the severe dimensions of unconditional ‘poverty’. This truth can be noted as of the twenty poorest countries in the world at present new-fangled studies have made known that that nineteen of these states reside within the expanse of Africa. As a result of this veracity we are forced to ask ourselves, what is it that makes Sub-Saharan Africa one of the poorest constituencies in the world today, and what can be done to alleviate the people of these nations from the coercion's of this anguish? Consequentially as a result of this actuality in this report I will be providing an example with regard to the effects of this quandary upon the populace of the Democratic Republic of Congo. I will then secondly discuss the effects poverty has had upon the process of development in not only the DRC but Africa. In addition I will then thirdly elaborate on the efficacy of the measures put in place to assuage this calamity. I will then conclude this report with my own opinion with regard to the communal dimensions brought about by this occurrence as well as discuss several recommendations to assuage this predicament.

What is Poverty?

Although poverty is a diverse term with both many dimensions and applications this expression refers to the condition of one who lacks the customary or socially acceptable amount of either money or material possessions, this circumstance can however not only refer to a individual but nation state within the global arena .Within the collective Sciences poverty is on the other hand defined as the condition where people’s basic needs for food, clothing and or shelter are not being met . This un-pleasantry considered to be a complex occurrence as a result of the multiple dimensions it imposes upon its victims with regard to social, economic and political conditions within the human milieu. ‘Absolute poverty’ is nevertheless a phrase used to refer to the primary visage of poverty and is characterized best by its tantamount with regard to devastation. This occurrence does however nonetheless transpire when people cannot attain the minimum level of physical health (Bandera, 2017, p.3). The secondary countenance with regard to poverty is however known as ‘Relative Poverty’ and occurs when people do not benefit from the minimum level of living standard set by their host government (Capasso and Carrillo, 2012, p.10).

What is development?

The sequence of development refers to the process which initiates growth advancement, positive change as well as physical, economic, social and or environmental transformations(Sid-israel.org, 2017, p.1). Nevertheless the aim of development upon the human milieu with regard to both states and individuals consists of raising the quality of existence through a collective effort(Sid-israel.org, 2017, p.1).This course of action of aims to create not only an expansion with regard to local regional income and employment but human resources. Moreover this contingent strategy aims to conduct changes through a means that does not damage natural resources when applied upon both a individual and nation state (Sid-israel.org, 2017,p.1).Furthermore the process of development entails the maintenance of visibility even though it is not necessarily always immediate, what’s more this process aspires to put a system in situate that places emphasis on the continuation of growth in weak states (Sid-israel.org, 2017,p.1).The international community did nevertheless only begin to focus on development as a means to elevate the human society during the second half of the twentieth century, as a consequence of new found understanding with regard to the collective monetary, societal and ecological implications of adequate life quality on policies (Sid-israel.org, 2017,p.2). Conversely specialists Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Collier argue that there are several factors also known as ‘poverty traps’ that hinder development (Sid-israel.org, 2017, p.1). These variables do however consist of civil war, conflict over resources as well as poverty in itself. Sachs and Collier’s theory is however nevertheless based on the fact that identifying these social conditions in a country serves as a means to advance development (Sid-israel.org, 2017, p.2).

Brief history behind the Democratic Republic of Congo

Even though Africa is one of the most poverty stricken regions in the world today the continent is nevertheless a ‘smelting pot’ of numerous subsisting philosophies as well as potential. This veracity can be noted through an observation of the Congolese people, whom after giving up a Socialistic ideology, are still seeking happiness even in today’s golden epoch.The Democratic Republic of Congo is a country located along the equator of Sub-Saharan Africa, its total land mass comprises of 342 000 square kilometres with a populace consisting of approximately 78 million people (Rotsky, 2017, p.2). This region was first established by Pierre de Brazza’s in 1880 who named the uncultivated terrain the French Congo as a result of his treaty with the ‘Mchoko’s’ of the ‘Butcke’ upon discovering the region. This state has nevertheless had a political scenery centred around both conflict and tumult,as a result this region has had a many different names(Rotsky, 2017,p.3). This actuality can be noted as this region became later named the French Mayon Congo also identified as the Middle Congo in 1903 as a consequence of domestic political variance(International Monetary Fund, 2010,p.1) .Five years later this region was once again renamed, into the French Equatorial Africa once the ‘Zaire’ gained dominion over this territory . On the other hand once the ‘Zaire’ regime became dissolved into independent colonies within the French nation this region adopted a market economy and became the state today we know as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Several factors over the recent decade have however contributed towards the great levels of deficiency sourcing anguish within this state with regard not only poverty but development (International Monetary Fund, 2010, p.1)

Poverty within the Democratic Republic of Congo

Nevertheless despite this actuality the Democratic Republic of Congo is still convalescing from a series of conflicts that broke out in the 1990’s, consequential in the creation of an obscured economic and social environment (Worldbank.org, 2017,p.1).The DRC’s political landscape has nonetheless been a sight troubled by not only confusion but pandemonium. Joseph Kabila has held the position of president within this nation-state since 2006, as a corollary of the fact that presidential and parliamentary elections have not only not taken place but been delayed as a consequence of a supposed redundant electoral register(Worldbank.org, 2017,p.2).As a result of this actuality the Democratic Republic of Congo has since been in engaged in a acme of political catastrophe, many academics do however argue that this lack of not only political structure but sustainability is another root factor with regard to the dimensions poverty has inflicted upon the Democratic Republic of Congo(Worldbank.org, 2017,p.3). Efforts to resolve this crisis has however been made by the African Union facilitator Eden Koda as well as the Congolese episcopate (Worldbank.org, 2017, p.4).

The Dimensions of Poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is not only one of the poorest countries in today’s mores but the site of humankind’s most deadly conflict since World War II, the ‘African War’ (Our Africa, 2017,p.4)’. This genocide based upon discrimination and bias with regard to Tutsi citizens in Rwanda fuelled by the Hutu leaders ability mobilize almost the entire Hutu population to commit mass murder in 1994,is however nonetheless a crucial factor accountable for transforming the relative peaceful society that we differentiate today as the poverty, conflict and war stricken state of the Democratic Republic of Congo .Recent history with regard to the DRC has however nevertheless been marked by conflict, misgovernment in addition to colossal humanitarian calamity(Mercy Corps, 2017,p.2). As populations in Africa grow the rise in the global societies malnourished victims increases at an alarming rate as a corollary of the poor governance that conflicts with advances made with regard to agricultural expansion and development. Despite attempts made towards restoration with regard to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s internal and external surroundings the Congolese continue to face a humanitarian predicament as a consequence of the ceaseless conflict, Insecurity and a general lack of development (International Monetary Fund, 2010, p.3). Of the citizens living within this region today 80% of the population live under the barriers of extreme paucity centred under not only food insecurity but undernourishment (Mercy Corps, 2017, p.1).

As a consequence of the civil war which transpired within this state almost all infrastructure in the region has been destroyed. This reality insures that the calamity of poverty within the Democratic Republic of Congo is not only extensive and stern but requires the immediate attention of the United Nations (Bandera, 2017, p.1). Despite having a populace of 77 million people, 80 million acres of land suitable for farming and 11000 different rare metals and minerals, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s poverty level remains one of the highest in the world today, this is nevertheless as a result of the rigorous dimension brought about the century long conflict in this region which not only brought dearth but a lack of edification (Rotsky, 2017p.2). The effects of a towering poverty rate within this state can however be noted through the high infant mortality rate, with one of seven newborns dying before age five. Furthermore the towering poverty rate within this country has caused an alarming large quantity of child labour, with 25% of children age 5–14 being already under an employment contract as a result of the need to provide for their families. (Rotsky, 2017p.2)

Moreover as a result of the extreme poverty within this region there is a ever increasing prevalence with regard to the spread of ailment reminiscent of HIV and AIDS in addition to a notable decline in school enrolment (Mercy Corps, 2017, p.4).Furthermore, the country has a 45 percent inoculation rate for one of the most commonly known diseases within the region, Malaria. The populace of this region experience extreme levels of not only anguish and suffering but a lack of access to both clean drinking water and adequate nutrition (Mercy Corps, 2017, p.2). Causes of the Democratic Republic of Congo abnormal poverty rate does however derive from a number of factors that can be recapitulated as a result of the political volatility and corruption within this region particularly with regard to the mining industry (Mercy Corps, 2017, p.1). The tumultuous history surrounding this sate as well as troubled transition from a Marxist government has nevertheless contributed greatly towards economic instability in today’s golden era. Furthermore once the Democratic Republic of Congo adopted a market economy, together with economic mismanagement, military coups and brutal conflict during the 1990’s have all since left their mark on this nation state. Additionally there are several large swaths of land within the country under the control of militia groups, as a consequence of this veracity at the height of conflict within this region one third of this countries populace became displaced(Mercy Corps, 2017,p.3).

Disease and Poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Within the Democratic Republic of Congo less than a quarter of the populace have adequate sanitation facilities whilst a even smaller amount have access to clean drinking water, this veracity ensures that water-borne diseases such as Diarrhoea, Bilharzias and Cholera are incredibly common in this region(Our Africa, 2017,p.1).Cholera outbreaks occur every year within the DRC, with 3% of those who contract the illness inevitably dyeing from it as a consequence of inadequate treatment as a result of the facets imposed by poverty. (Our Africa, 2017, p.1)Nonetheless, the greatest threat to health in this region is ‘Malaria’ .In 2009 there were over 6.7 million cases of Malaria with two out of every five deaths being caused by this infirmity (Worldbank.org, 2017, p.2). With families struggling to survive, ceaseless escalations with regard to the number of orphans as well as surroundings centred upon the foundations of war and disease there is an estimated 4million children living on the streets of the DRC unable to escape the dimensions of absolute poverty (Worldbank.org, 2017, p.2).

Efforts to alleviate Poverty in this region

Following the prolonged period of divergence and pandemonium this state experienced in the 1990’s, the change so greatly desired by the Congo is now in progress. Recognition for this development does however go to the Nouvelle Esperance(New Hope) programme of renaissance that was implemented in the early 2000’s,the Democratic Republic of Congo has since nevertheless restored a diminutive percentage of both amity and sanctuary(Mercy Corps, 2017p.1). In September 2000, the Republic of Congo joined 192 other member states as the latest addition to the United Nations assembly adopting the ‘Millennium Declaration’ as their own (Our Africa, 2017p.2). This consensus was however based on a vision of not only sustainable human development but specific Millennium Development Goals that translate into objectives aimed to be achieved in the near future that alleviate society as a whole. Having committed to this accord entails the Congo and other signatory nations collectively working towards both national and international sustainability (International Monetary Fund, 2010, p.2). The Millennium Development concurrence aims to address significant challenges of development, promote human dignity, as well as eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in addition to the endorsement of equity with regard to education. This consensus additionally also aims to reduce both maternal and infant mortality through the equal redistribution of medical supplies as well as ARV’s to combat the effects of HIV and AIDS. The African bank has conversely also put measures in place to help elevate the populace of this region from this Bubonic plague (CAPASSO and CARILLO, 2012, p.3).

Another strategy aimed at alleviating poverty within this region does however rotate around the rebuilding of economic relationships between communities torn apart by violence in the hopes of creating a unified Africa (Corps, 2017, p.3). Projects that encourage mutually beneficial economic gains across social, ethnic and geographic divides have however already been initiated by Rwanda and Uganda. Furthermore the international community must help ensure that a more equitable proportion of revenues from eastern Congo’s abundant natural resources are retained locally as a means to generate internal revenue for the poverty stricken populations of this region. These efforts will hopefully not only alleviate paucity and distress but reduce the skirmishing over inadequate assets (Mercy Corps, 2017).

The Department for International Development refers to the leading British government dedicated towards ending the world struggle of combat poverty within the global community. This initiative aims to support long-term programmes to help tackle the underlying causes of poverty with regard to the ‘Global-South’. Additionally this organisation forms part of a global concurrence to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger, ensure that all children receive primary education, promote sexual equality, reduce child death rates, improve the health of mothers as well as ensure environmental protection. Furthermore the World Bank is also viewed as a tool capable of helping to alleviate poverty within the Democratic Republic of Congo and improve standards of living through the implementation of edification, energy, wellbeing as well as other social services (Worldbank.org, 2017,p.3).Nevertheless since the World Bank re-engaged with the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2001 over the recent years its recent tactic with regard to alleviating poverty in the region has shifted from an emergency assistance to sustainable growth strategy (Worldbank.org, 2017,p.3).

Global aid and partnership with regard to poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The World Bank’s action plan with regard to the Democratic Republic of Congo currently consists of 24 projects which include 57 trust funds, nevertheless of the 2.51 billion commitments to the alleviation of poverty in this region only 42% of resources have actually been distributed. Moreover this plan of action is spread across various sectors with 63% of commitments based on road and rail networks of transport, energy, urban development and water. The World Bank’s current country assistance strategy aimed to be completed this year has however been noted as both a performance and learning review by the intercontinental district. Furthermore as a consequence of the multiple anti-poliomyelitis vaccination campaigns put in place by this funding as well as the provisions of essential medications, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been able to successfully eradicate Poliomyelitis, improve access to health care as well as reduce the maternal mortality rate.

Moreover in order to bring the long term succession of poverty within the Democratic Republic of Congo to conclusion, the Global partnership for education supervised by the World Bank has increased access and equity with regard to education through the rehabilitation of 728 out of 825 classrooms within this nation-state. Additionally this programme has provided 20 million dollars worth in the procurement of learning materials such as textbooks in French ,Mathematics ,civic education ,science as well as the establishment 35 technological labs also referred to as resource centres in order to aid the effects of service learning. In order to aid the capacity for building within this state with regard to national security companies, the Soci’ete’ nationale d’ electricite(SNEL) supported by The World Bank have implanted a variety of performance contracts between both the government and SNEL. This proposal of new executive boards, the recruitment of technical expertise as well as the implementation of service contracts with Manitoba Hydro International, has lead to the conception of not only recovery strategy but 30% kilowatt increase with regard to revenue (Capasso and Carrillo, 2012, p.4).

Furthermore the World Bank’s financing has helped not only rehabilitate the Democratic Republic of Congo’s first unit(G2) at Inga which at present brings an additional 55 Megawatts for the Congolese populace but has additionally helped install compensator fibre optic network with regard to the Inga,Kalwezi and Kassumbalessa transmission line(Worldbank.org, 2017,p.1). Nevertheless sponsors with regard to this region are organized through the Donors Coordination Group. These focus groups aim to fortify the channel of communication between the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its citizens in order to reach mutual agreement based on dedication ,cooperation as well as create a streamline for development partners community(Worldbank.org, 2017,p.2).Nevertheless the World Bank actively participates in this group and has developed numerous bilateral partnerships, this can be noted as a result of the fact that the United Nations world bank has been indispensable variable with regard to helping achieving central accomplishments which rotate around demobilization, education and health within the DRC(Worldbank.org, 2017p.1).

Objectives with regard to social protection within the Democratic Republic of Congo are however nonetheless supported by the WBG working with the UNICEF as well as the USAID (Capasso and Carrillo, 2012, p.2).

. Together these organisations have helped put in place a government capacity to monitor services as well as quality delivery with regard child protection. The WBG leveraged by financial support from the United Kingdom, France and Belgium has however led to the development of not only agencies for public financial management but public administrative support activities (Capasso and Carrillo, 2012, p.2).

Conclusion and Recommendations

Hence fourth in conclusion it is my personal opinion that the integration of good welfare within the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as social services are key characteristics with regard to alleviating citizens within this region. Social services are vital factors with regard to the maintenance of nation-states internal involuntary processes, these mechanisms’ consist of law enforcement, medical aid as well as environmental cluster organisations. Additionally the global community could help alleviate poverty in not only the Democratic Republic of Congo but Africa as a collective through the increased promotion of donations with regard to both charitable organisations and international aid agencies. With the help of greater funding these establishments will be able to not only address poverty on a larger scale but increase their sphere of influence with regard to recruitment. Moreover poverty in the DRC can be assuaged through aiding these nations’ technological advancements. It is my personal belief that by the Congolese people having better technology they will not only be able to find cheaper ways to generate power but escape the dimensions of poverty. Furthermore in order to amend the long-term cycle of environmental, social and industrial deficiency within this region the government can promote tree planting programmes, adult literacy programmes as well as the offering of small loans to villages. Education is an essential characteristic of alleviating human society as a consequence of this veracity it is my belief that by promoting equal education amongst males and females within the Democratic Republic of Congo citizens will have knowledge on means of income generation reminiscent of agriculture, barter and sustainable development. If the citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo adhere to these recommendations it is my belief that they will not only overcome poverty but mount into a formidable epoch of this world.

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Ntsikayezwe Yahya Fakude

Wanderer at heart ✈️ | Exploring the world, one adventure at a time 🌿 @wander_always_11