Agriculture and fishing
Only about 3 percent of Congo-Kinshasa’s surface area is cultivated, despite the fact that climate and soil are well suited for large-scale production of cotton and coffee, among other things. Production of all commercial crops has decreased since the 1970s.
- CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Democratic Republic of the Congo. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.
More than half of the population is employed in agriculture. However, reduced productivity and the conflicts that have forced many to leave home and land cause millions of people in Congo to suffer acute food shortages. In this incredibly fertile country, in 2005, about three-quarters of the inhabitants were estimated to be malnourished.
Coffee is the largest export product in agriculture. It is grown in the eastern part of the country, but the unrest there has led to steadily declining harvests since the early 1990s. Cultivation also occurs of palm oil, rubber, sugar, cotton, tea and cocoa. For Democratic Republic of the Congo defense and foreign policy, please check prozipcodes.
The most important crops for domestic consumption are cassava, maize, rice, food bananas and peanuts. Most cultivation is done in the traditional way with hand tools in self-sustaining family farming. The armed conflicts have hit agriculture hard. The isolation and uncertainty have made a normal economic exchange impossible in parts of the country. Periodically, seeds and fertilizers have not reached the growers, and these have not been able to deliver their goods to the customers.
Livestock management is rather limited and occurs mostly in the country’s eastern provinces.
Fishing could develop strongly, but is still mainly conducted for housing needs on rivers and lakes. Sea fishing is insignificant.
Well over half of the country is covered by forest. In 2002, the government decided not to issue any new forest harvesting permits until now to try to curb the devastation that was underway in the protection of the war chaos. But at the same time, the government had no real insight into what was happening in the forests, and the illegal logging continues. The rainforest in central Africa is important for biodiversity and for the climate in the world (see Geography).
In June 2018, the organization Global Witness warned of the consequences of the illegal logging for the forest after following the company Norsudtimber for two years, headquartered in Lichtenstein. According to the report from Global Witness, the company has almost exclusively harvested forest without a permit, which was rejected by the company. 80% of timber from Norsudtimber went to China and Vietnam between 2013 and 2017, while 11% was exported to European countries, mainly Portugal and France.
FACTS – AGRICULTURE
Agriculture’s share of GDP
19.1 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
11.6 percent (2016)
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of DRC stands for the state of Democratic Republic of the Congo in geography.
Battle at the border with Burundi
The army announces that ten Burundian soldiers have been killed after crossing the border from the neighboring country. The killed soldiers must have been in search of Burundian rebels hiding in Congo-Kinshasa. It is the first known clash between the countries’ forces since the end of the civil war in Congo-Kinshasa in 2003.
Bloody Christmas weekend in North Kivu
35 people are killed during the Christmas holidays in various acts of violence in North Kivu where the majority of the inhabitants are Christians. 22 people lose their lives when Islamist guerrilla ADF storms the city of Eringeti on Christmas Eve. On Monday, 13 Hutus were killed, including an eight-year-old girl when a militia from the Nande people attacked them near the village of Nyanzale. The enmity between Nande and Hutu has led to a number of clashes between the groups’ militias earlier in the year.
At least 40 dead in connection with protests
At least 40 civilians are killed when security forces intervene against protesters protesting that Kabila remains. The unrest is taking place in the cities of Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Boma and Matadi. Some of the victims, according to eyewitnesses, must have been shot at close range by the soldiers. Over 100 people are injured and 460 people are arrested.
New government takes office
Samy Badibanga’s new government will take office as part of the deal concluded with parts of the opposition earlier this fall (see October 2016).
Kabila’s mandate expires
President Kabila’s mandate expires on December 19. Ahead of this, the authorities are demonstrating bans in Kinshasa, social media has been blocked and military and police are patrolling the streets. Despite this, oppositionists gather in Kinshasa to urge Kabila to step down. Opposition leader Tshisekedi urges his supporters to conduct peaceful protests. Also in Goma there are protests, where a large number of protesters must have been arrested, according to human rights organizations. On the same day, rebels from a Mai-Mai militia attack a prison in Butembo, North Kivu, to free prisoners. A firefight breaks out before the rebels strike back. Seven people are killed: a South African UN soldier, a policeman and five Mai-Mai rebels.
The United States faces sanctions on Kabila’s inner circle
13th of December
The US is imposing sanctions on President Kabila’s inner circle for the first time, including Interior Minister Evariste Boshab and the head of the intelligence service Kalev Mutondo. At the same time, the EU is for the first time penalizing seven people, including the head of the Republic Guard Ilunga Kampete, who is suspected of human rights violations, among others.
The church mediates
The Catholic Church is holding talks with both the government side and the opposition to try to resolve the crisis that arose when the election was postponed. There is great concern that violence will arise when Kabila’s mandate expires on December 19.
Hutu massacre in North Kivu
Over 30 people are killed when a Mai Mai militia from the Nande people attacks the village of Luhanga in North Kivu. Most of the victims are Hutus. Tensions in the area increased during 2016, when the offensive against the hutumilis FDLR forced many people to flee.
New unitary government is formed
Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon resigns as Prime Minister and is succeeded by Samy Badibanga, who will lead a new unity government. The latter formerly belonged to UPDS, but was excluded in 2012 when he did not obey the party’s decision to boycott the work of the National Assembly. The change of post takes place since Kabila agreed with parts of the opposition to postpone the presidential election until April 2018.
Bemba is convicted of bribing witnesses
Jean-Pierre Bemba and four others, including a member of his legal team, are convicted of bribing witnesses in the lawsuit against the former vice president and opposition leader at the ICC (see March 2016). 14 witnesses should have received instructions from Bemba’s camp about what they would say in court. They risk being sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Election moves are approved by the court
The Constitutional Court approves a petition from the Election Commission to move the election to 2018.
No elections in November
The Government Coalition announces that it, together with several smaller opposition parties, has agreed to postpone the elections until April 2018 for new voters to be able to register, and that Kabila can remain as president until then. A formal agreement is signed on 18 October. Opposition Alliance The Assembly calls for a general strike until October 19 to protest against this.
The UN warns of a new wave of violence
UN envoy for Congo-Kinshasa, Maman Sidikou, warns of a new wave of violence in Congo-Kinshasa, saying that even if Monusco will do everything possible to protect civilians, the force will have a hard time accomplishing the task.
UPDS leaders are arrested
Bruno Tshibala, who holds a high position within the opposition party UPDS, is arrested by police when he is about to board an aircraft to Brussels. According to authorities, he will be questioned about his part in the protests in September.
Requirements for deportation of South Sudanese rebels
750 rebels from South Sudan, loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, crossed the border to Nordkivu in July, where they were taken care of and disarmed by the UN. Congolese authorities now describe them as a security risk and demand that the UN fly them out of the country within a week. This happens after residents of the provincial capital Goma protested against their presence. They fear they will follow in the footsteps of the FDLR hutumilis formed after the Rwanda genocide, or that new unrest will erupt if South Sudanese President Salva Kiir sends troops across the border. Machar, who also came to Congo-Kinshasa in July, is now in Sudan.
December 2018 elections?
The President of the Election Commission says he expects the presidential election to be held only in December 2018. A statement believed to dilute the already strong tensions in the country. Later, Kabila justifies this because more preparations need to be made so that millions of voters, most young people, are not excluded from the elections.
The United States is facing sanctions against high-ranking military
Following the security forces’ violent intervention against the opposition’s protests earlier this month, the US faces sanctions on a high-ranking military, Gabriel Amisi Kumba, and a former police chief, John Numbi, who is now an adviser to Kabila. This means that all their potential assets in the US are frozen.
Fighting requires 49 lives
Concerns are reported from the city of Kananga in the middle of the country, as militia from Kamuina Nsapu (sometimes spelled Kamwina Nsapu) clash with security forces.
Party headquarters burn down
The opposition party UPDS party headquarters in Kinshasa is burned down by security forces according to Human Rights Watch . The Lumumbist progressive movement (MLP) and the forces of unity and solidarity (Fonus) premises are also attacked. 17 people are killed when security forces open fire on protesters who for the second day in a row protest against Kabila’s attempt to stay in power.
Many dead in connection with opposition protests
Thousands of people are participating in a protest march in Kinshasa and demand that President Kabila resign. At least 17 people are killed when security forces clash with protesters. Three of the victims are said to be police officers. The opposition claims that over 50 people have been killed. A witness says police have shot straight into the crowd. Demonstrations are also held in Kisangani and Goma. Dozens of people, including several journalists, are arrested, according to data from human rights organizations. Opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi calls for new protests.
The Election Commission wants the court to postpone the elections
Election Commission Ceni submits a petition to the Supreme Court to formally confirm that the elections should be postponed. This happens after the talks between the opposition and Ceni have been stuck, after the opposition parties rejected a proposal that the elections should be held at the end of 2018.
General strike strikes Kinshasa
The opposition is calling for a general strike throughout the country to put force behind its demand that President Kabila resign when his term expires. It gains the biggest impact in the capital, where police deploy tear gas to disperse UDPS supporters who set up barricades near their party headquarters, and in the city of Goma in the eastern part of the country. The Opposition Alliance Collection also rejects the mediator of the conflict appointed by AU, Togo’s former president Edem Kodjo.
ADF-Nalu is suspected of massacres
The ADF-Nalu rebel group is accused by the army of killing at least 30 people in a village next to the city of Beni in North Kivu. Residents of the area are demonstrating and accusing the government of not doing enough to protect them.
Great demonstration in support of Kabila
The government is gathering at least 50,000 people for a support demonstration for President Kabila in Kinshasa.
Tshisekedi returns home
Opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi returns to his home country after two years of absence. He is received at the Kinshasa airport by cheering crowds. The recently imprisoned Moïse Katumbi in a Twitter message welcomes “President Tshisekedi” welcome home. The judge who sentenced Katumbi to prison in May says she was pressured by the authorities to announce a convicting sentence against him.
Opposition politicians doomed in their absence
Opposition politician Moïse Katumbi, who said he intends to run for office in the presidential election, is sentenced to 36 months in prison for selling a property he does not own (see also May 2016).
18 years in prison for Bemba
The ICC sentenced former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba to 18 years in prison for war crimes committed in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003 (see March 2016).
Yellow fever affects three provinces
67 confirmed cases of yellow fever have been found, but another thousand people are believed to have contracted the disease in Kinshasa, Congo Central and Kwango. Until June 21, five people have died in the disease.
Concerns about collection camps
17th of June
Struggles, according to representatives of a relief organization, must have erupted when government soldiers tried to prevent former rebels from leaving a collection camp. In the camp there are both former rebels from M23 and Mai Mai. Conflicting information comes about what has happened. According to a former militia, they break out in connection with a peaceful demonstration in which camp residents demand to return home. According to government representatives, fighting has occurred, but no one should have been killed. Human rights organizations have highlighted major problems around the camps. According to Human Rights Watch , at least 100 people have died as a result of starvation and illness in a camp in the northwest.
New opposition alliance is formed
UPDS leader Tshisekedi invites all the country’s opposition parties to Brussels. There, they agree to form a common platform called the Collection (Le Rassemblement) which requires elections to be held during the late autumn in accordance with the country’s constitution. The alliance also includes G-7 / Alternance pour la Republique (AR), and La Dynamique de l’opposition supporting Katumbi’s candidacy in the presidential election. G-7 brings together seven parties that broke with Kabila’s party Majority President in September 2015. La Dynamique de l’opposition is also a coalition of several parties, including Vital Kamerhe’s UNC and Jean-Pierre Bembas MLC. It is a collaboration with strong inherent tensions.
Unrest in Goma
Two people are killed in connection with protests in Goma in Nordkivu. Police fire tear gas at stone-throwing protesters, protesting against Kabila’s attempt to remain in power. One of the victims is a demonstrator, the other a female police officer. In Kinshasa there are also unrest in connection with protests.
Katumbi leaves the country
Opposition politician Katumbi travels to South Africa to receive care. Prosecutors give his permission for the trip after receiving a promise that he will return to his home country to take part in a possible lawsuit against him. However, it appears in media reports that he left the country for fear of what would happen to him.
Opposition politician Katumbi is prosecuted
Prosecution is brought against opposition politician Moïse Katumbi. According to a government spokesman, he has hired foreign mercenaries to recruit young Congolese to a new militia force. The purpose would be to try to overthrow President Kabila. Katumbi himself rejects all charges. He is in hospital after the police were fired the week before he was fired at him and his supporters. At least 27 of Katumbi’s employees and supporters must have been arrested since the end of April, as did US security adviser Darryl Lewis (see April 2016). The United States expresses great concern about Lewis’s arrest and the intervention against the opposition. There will also be reports of clashes between Kabila’s and Katumbi’s supporters. Those accused by the authorities of being mercenaries are a group of American security advisers, including Lewis. There are speculations that the United States is preparing sanctions for a number of Congolese people affiliated with Kabila.
Cuts are rejected
Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo presents a revised budget where all ministries and public institutions must reduce their costs by 30 percent. The measure is required due to reduced income from the mining industry due to low world market prices for a number of metals. He says the country risks hyperinflation if nothing is done.
Kabila can remain in office until the election is delayed
The Constitutional Court states that Kabila can remain in office when his mandate expires in December if no new election could then be held. The Court refers to a section of the Constitution which states that a sitting president remains in office until the next president takes office. The opposition refers to another section which stipulates that the President of the Senate should step down as president pending elections.
Katumbi plans to run for office in the presidential election
Moïse Katumbi, former governor of Katanga. announces that he has agreed to stand as presidential candidate for the opposition. On the same day, the country’s Minister of Justice announces that Katumbi is under investigation, accused of hiring foreign mercenaries as his private bodyguards. Katumbi dismisses the allegations and believes the investigation is politically motivated. The next day, police surround Katumbi’s home in the city of Lubumbashi. Katumbi asks UN troops for protection and these also surround the house.
New charge against warlord
Former warlord Germain Katanga, who previously served a war crime sentence (see November 2015), is re-facing trial. Again, Katanga is being prosecuted for abuses committed in the Ituri province.
Opposition activists are arrested
Supporters of opposition politician Moïse Katumbi are arrested in connection with a demonstration in Lubumbashi in Katanga. According to Katumbi, the police must have fired shots and fired tear gas at the protesters, and several people are reported to have been injured. Katumbi would have spoken at the meeting. Large parts of the opposition want him as their presidential candidate, but he has not yet said if he plans to stand. Among those arrested is an American security adviser, Darryl Lewis, with whom Katumbi has a contract (however, he will be released in June).
The United States wants a timetable for the election
At a meeting between President Kabila and US Secretary of State John Kerry, the latter should have stressed that the United States will support all the forces that ensure elections are held in accordance with the Congolese Constitution.
New allegations of sexual abuse
Seven UN soldiers from Tanzania are accused of sexual abuse. Earlier, it was revealed that five Congolese women and six girls became pregnant in connection with sexual assaults committed by soldiers from Tazania, Mali and South Africa.
Kabila’s sister is mentioned in the “Panama Papers”
Joseph Kabila’s twin sister Jaynet Desiree Kabila Kyungu is mentioned in the documents that have leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. She reportedly opened a mailbox company in Niue in 2001. According to the French magazine Jeune Afrique, Kabila Kyungu is one of the most influential people in Kabila’s administration.
Bemba is convicted of war crimes
The ICC decides on March 21 that former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba pled guilty to war crimes in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003. Bemba, who then led the MLC rebel group, sent a thousand men to the neighboring country to help the then president Ange-Félix Patassé down a coup attempt. He is convicted of failing to intervene to prevent his rebel force from killing and raping people. The verdict applies to a number of cases of murder and rape.
Activists are arrested in Goma
Six members of the Fight for Change (Lucha) group are arrested in connection with a peaceful protest in Nordkivu where they demand that a Luchak activist arrested a year earlier be released, according to reports from Human Rights Watch .
Genocide suspected to be handed over to Rwanda
Ladislas Ntaganzwa, former Rwandan mayor, who was arrested in Congo-Kinshasa in December, is accused by Rwanda of being involved in the 1994 genocide. Previously, Congo-Kinshasa has refused to extradite suspects of crime to Rwanda. The country has demanded that the neighboring country first hand over persons such as former rebel leader Laurent Nkunda who has taken refuge in Rwanda.
Activists are sentenced to prison
Six activists from the Fight for Change (Lucha) group are sentenced to two years in prison on February 24 for preparing a revolt. The six were arrested a week earlier as they prepared the general strike announced by the opposition. A few weeks later, the sentence is reduced to six months imprisonment in a higher instance.
General strike in Kinshasa
Almost all activity in the capital stops during a general strike organized by opposition parties. The purpose of this is to put pressure on Kabila so that he will give up power when his term expires. Opposition leader Martin Fayulu is arrested the days before the strike.
UN soldiers are charged with rape in the Central African Republic
New suspicions are directed at, among other things, troops from Congo-Kinshasa (see also Central African Republic: Calendar). The UN has already announced that 120 Congo-Kinshasa soldiers will be sent home on allegations of sexual abuse in the neighboring country.
Vengeance attacks against hutus in Nordkivu
At least 20 hutus are killed, 40 are killed and 10 houses are burned down in the province of Nordkivu in early February. Local militias, UPDI and NDC, are suspected of the act, which is believed to be a revenge for previous attacks on the Nande people in January, where 14 deaths were claimed. The authorities have accused the FDLR hutumilis of being behind them. The UN expresses concern over the escalation of ethnic violence in the province, in the wake of the military’s offensive against the FDLR.
Criticism against large companies
In a report on January 19, Amnesty International criticized major IT companies such as Apple, Samsung and Sony for not doing enough to make sure that children are not used in the cobalt mining in Congo-Kinshasa. The report states that children as young as seven years participate in the cobalt extraction. Over half the world production of the mineral takes place in Congo-Kinshasa. The companies claim that they have strict rules to prevent the exploitation of children.
Warns of violence
UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Congo-Kinshasa, Maman S Sidikou warns of the risk of new serious outbreaks in the coming year. At the turn of the year, the security situation has deteriorated in the eastern parts of the country. In Beni in Nordkivu, ADF-Nalu is the biggest threat and is suspected of attacks where several government soldiers were killed. In Lubero in the same province, the hutumilis FDLR accounts for most of the violence. The civilian population gets stuck there because of conflicts between the FDLR and the Mai Mai militia.
New delays for the election
Election Commission Ceni announces that it will take at least 18 months to update the voting lengths. In the past, however, the same process has only taken between six and eight months. The interior minister has also said that a new electoral law must be adopted before elections can be held. The next parliamentary session will be held in March. The opposition is protesting, but few believe that the election will be held in November. The government in Kinshasa describes it all as “technical delays”. The government also argues that Article 70 of the Constitution provides that a president can remain until a new one takes office, but not everyone agrees.
No to national dialogue
The opposition refuses to participate in the national dialogue proposed by the government, and plans a series of protests in the second half of January. However, the opposition party UDPS has signaled that the party is prepared to participate in talks with the government, but only if certain conditions are met.