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THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
By almost any measure, the DRC is one of the world’s least developed countries. The Congo is often listed as one of the worst places to be a woman, with over 1,100 women and girls raped daily. The life expectancy of the average Congolese person is a little over 55 years due to the lack of sanitary water, medication, and health care. The Congo continues to be ravaged by a dizzying array of rebel groups, and contains over three million internally displaced people and refugees. Nevertheless, the DRC is inhabited by some of the most resilient and inspirational people in the world! It is the strength of these people that inspires CLI.
Additionally, there is a reason for Congo’s lack of development. Since independence in 1960, the Congo has lacked the guidance of leaders who have the interests of the Congolese people as a top priority. Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko’s reign consisted of corruption, human rights atrocities, embezzlement, and political oppression. Laurent-Desire Kabila, the rebel leader who claimed the Presidency from Mobutu, was also unable to provide sound solutions for the country. As a result, the people of the DRC still suffered under war, poverty, and disease. When Kabila was assassinated in 2001, his son Joseph took over as president. Though the current situation has not worsened, it has certainly not improved, as evidenced by ambiguity and violence surrounding elections in 2011 (won once again by Mr. Kabila). Still, the young people in the Congo are ripe with potential to change the situation. As you will read on this site, they already are!
The myriad of problems facing the Congo truly demonstrates need in almost every sector. We all have an interest in a peaceful, prosperous Congo because all of us are connected to one of the symptoms of the Congo’s lack of leadership.