The Democratic Republic of Congo should be one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
DRC is the greatest single example in history of how predatory elites rip off millions of people and get away with it.
Some quick facts from the BBC’s Africa Editor Fergal Keane’s report:
- DR Congo has $24 trillion (£18 trillion) in mineral wealth
- That’s from gold, diamonds, copper, uranium, cobalt and coltan
- But 70% of the population lives below the poverty line
- King Leopold of Belgium’s plunder of DR Congo caused 10 million deaths
- Belgium and the CIA ordered independence leader Patrice Lumumba’s murder
- President Mobutu, kept in power by the West, stole half of the country’s aid revenue
- Rwanda and Uganda sponsored a rebellion to overthrow Mobutu
- Both nations installed the Kabila family in power
- 5 million died in a decade of war over territory and resources
- The conflict involved nine African nations and numerous rebel groups
- The milennial tech boom fuelled demand for Congolese coltan
- Rights groups allege $750m in mining revenue has been stolen during President Joseph Kabila’s rule
- He has stayed in power beyond the constitution’s two-term limit
- Protesters have nonetheless become emboldened in their calls for free elections.