DRC to skip its own donor conference, says the country is being given ‘bad image’

DRC to skip its own donor conference, says the country is being given ‘bad image’

The Democratic Republic of Congo says it will not attend a donor conference in Geneva next month, complaining the country is being given “a bad image”.

The meeting aims to raise nearly $1.7bn (£1.2bn) for what the UN has described as a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

Acting Prime Minister Jose Makila acknowledged that the country was facing an emergency but said the UN’s reaction was discouraging investors from putting money in the nation.

This even as statistics from the United Nations indicate that more than 13 million Congolese are in need of humanitarian aid.

Nearly 4.5 million people are currently displaced in the country, having fled violence, it says.

DR Congo is rich in mineral and other resources but is affected by armed conflicts, corruption and a political crisis.

In response, the UN has declared that the humanitarian crisis facing the country is Level 3 – the body’s highest-level emergency. It organised a high-level humanitarian conference for the DR Congo in Geneva on 13 April.

But Mr Makila accused the UN of overreacting and said that aid organisations were propagating a “bad image of DR Congo throughout the world”.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo declines to participate in the Geneva conference,” he said.

“While recognising that the country is facing an emergency situation… the activation of the top-level humanitarian emergency acts as a brake [for development].”

President Joseph Kabila has been in power in DR Congo since 2001. His second and final term officially ended in December 2016.

Elections have been scheduled for December this year but correspondents say it is unclear if President Kabila will give way.

BBC Africa