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DFID must assist with DRC elections as conflict continues

28 February 2017

The International Development Committee has concluded that the Department for International Development (DFID) must be ready to provide rapid support to elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as conflict continues in parts of the country.   

The International Development Committee's Report: Fragility and development in the Democratic Republic of Congo, highlights the need for successful elections and a rapid increase in DFID's human rights work, following the agreement of a political deal.

Violence against women and girls in DRC is at one of the highest levels in the world. A previous Committee recommendation on making this DFID's top priority is yet to happen. The Committee believes that DFID should be funding standalone projects on this issue.

DRC suffers from poor governance and infrastructure, weak basic services and one of the longest humanitarian crises in the world. The country is one of DFID's highest priority countries with a planned bilateral budget of £147 million for each of the next two financial years.

The report highlights the alleged involvement of UK listed companies in corruption in DRC and re-iterates the Committee's previous recommendations on this issue.

Chair's comments

Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“The political and humanitarian situation in DRC is one of the most challenging in the developing world and this is reflected by the extent of DFID's support.

The deal reached at the end of December between the Congolese Government and opposition parties to hold elections this year is very significant and we welcome this news. Amid a desperate human rights situation there is renewed hope of a clear and peaceful resolution to the ongoing political crisis.

Legitimacy risks surrounding the elections remain significant. The Department should be working with the international community to ensure there are sufficient resources for elections and that they are free and fair.

It is disappointing that DFID has not implemented our predecessor Committee's recommendation that violence against women and girls in DRC be their top priority. This should be addressed with associated funding.

The serious effects of corruption on development in DRC are clear. UK aid spending will not reach its full potential until it is tackled.

We can see that UK aid is making a real difference to DRC covering basic services, humanitarian needs, private sector development and peacebuilding. There is much to be commended but DFID must prioritise anti-corruption and violence against women and girls.”

Further information

Image: iStockphoto