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The Democratic Republic of Congo is known to have valuable resources. Congo has large reserves of gold, gems, cobalt, copper, uranium and timber with the most valuable resource being its large reserve of diamonds. These natural resources have been the main cause of a variety of wars in the DRC. There have been a variety of wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These wars involve various rebel groups and ethnic groups being involved in violence and fighting. The main reason for these wars is Congo’s rich natural resources especially the illegal trade of diamonds and bitter ethnic wars. The Congo’s civil war is rooted in history. Before the civil war, many Congolese people were kidnapped and forced into slavery in the coast. They were used by King Leopold to extract natural resources and he oversaw the deaths of about 10 million people. King Leopold’s harsh rule and using the Congolese people as slaves for his personal gain made the people to rebel against him and taking matters in their own hands thus fueling the civil war. The first Congo war occurred from 1996 to1997, which led to the replacement of a dictatorial leader Mobutu Sese Seko with a rebel leader Laurent Desire Kabila. This war led to the Rwandan Genocide. The second Congo war occurred from 1998 to2003, whereby it ended with the transitional government taking power. However, there were still the Kivu and the Ituri conflicts. The recent Civil war in Congo caused more than 3.3 million deaths. It has been very hard to reach a solution to end these wars due to so many opposition factions.
Congo has the highest incidences of poverty in the world today. The people of Congo have been pushed further into starvation and poverty due to ethnic conflicts and civil war between rebels and the government. Due to poor governance during the Mobutu regime, the country has experienced continuous inflation, public debts and budget deficits that have been growing over the years. The sustained levels of violence has led to massive damage on the infrastructure, loss of lives and property and internal displacement and leading to many people migrating to rural areas. Half of the people in Congo now live below the poverty line and the most affected are women and children. Congo is know to be one of the richest countries in natural resources, unfortunately , the people of Congo do not benefit from these resources due to corruption.
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Eichstaedt, Peter. Consuming the Congo: War and Conflict Minerals in the World’s Deadliest Place. Barnes and Noble, 2011. Print.
Trefon, Theodore. Congo Masquerade: The Political Culture of Aid Inefficiency and Reform Failure. Barnes and Noble, 2011. Print.
Samset, Ingrid. ‘Conflict of Interests or Interests in Conflict? Diamonds & War in the DRC.’ Review of African Political Economy. 2002. 463-480. pp. 470-471
Gondola, Ch. Didier. The History of Congo. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2002. p. 6
Reyntjens, Filip. The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996-2006. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. p. 42, 61