Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest country by area in Africa. Despite significant geological, hydraulic, forest and agricultural resources, it is also one of the poorest countries on the continent. AFD has been an historic partner of the DRC, promoting access to basic services for the most disadvantaged, along with improved governance.
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students, girls, Kinshasa, RDC / DRC, education
classroom, planet, school, education, RDC / DRC

Improving educational and vocational training

classroom, planet, school, education, RDC / DRC

Improving educational and vocational training

School for all

The Congolese education system has suffered from 20 years of conflict in the DRC. The government set a number of objectives in 2010, in particular that of achieving primary schooling for all by 2020, making it free and investing in infrastructure, equipment and training.

AFD is helping to implement this strategy. It has rehabilitated schools and helped modernise the education system and improve the quality of teaching. Its objectives today are to build more than 700 classrooms by the end of 2018, to consolidate the continuing professional development of teachers and to support budgeting for their salaries.

Youth skills

Economic actors in the DRC are facing a significant shortage of skilled staff in many areas. Alongside this, the number of unskilled and unemployed young people is rising rapidly. Vocational training is therefore a crucial issue for the country, both in terms of its economic development and its social cohesion and poverty reduction.

AFD is supporting the National Institute for Vocational Development (INPP), which trains nearly 40,000 people each year. It support is targeted at the links between education, training and work. One of the aims is to modernise the INPP, and this involves improving its management capacity, and building or renovating five fully-equipped training centres (Bukavu, Matadi, Goma, Mbandaka and Kisangani). Finally, an innovation fund will be established to enable the regions to develop their training provision locally.

Contributing to good financial governance

woman, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Contributing to good financial governance

The DRC has embarked on an ambitious programme of reforming its public finances. This is one of the major themes of the state’s modernisation programme, both nationally and locally, and revolves around five pillars: budgetary reform, fiscal modernisation, improved public finances, accounting and Treasury reform, and an improved control mechanism.

AFD is supporting this reform and helping central government to:

  • facilitate the collection of public revenues;
  • improve the budgeting process;
  • consolidate the training provided by the DRC’s National School of Administration/ENA (established with French funding in 2014).

Ensuring better access to basic services

Kinshasa, water, RDC / DRC

Ensuring better access to basic services

Access to care for the poorest sectors of society

The DRC has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world: 75 children in every 1,000 die before the age of one. This alarming rate is linked to the population’s lack of resources and to a dysfunctional health system. The Congolese Ministry of Health has thus embarked on reforms aimed at encouraging autonomous hospital management.

AFD is supporting this momentum, notably by financing the “Kinshasa Mother-and-Child” project for several years. This initiative is aimed at improving the health of mothers and children in particular:

  • by improving the provision of care, and making it more accessible to the poorest sectors of society in two of the capital’s hospitals (Monkole and Ngaliema); and
  • by building capacity within the Ministry of Health and improving hospital management skills. 
Water for Kinshasa

Only 46% of the population have access to clean water in the DRC. And scarcely 30% have access to sanitation. Kinshasa is home to more than 10 million people and is experiencing rapid and unplanned urban growth. The new outlying districts very often suffer from a lack of basic infrastructure essential to a decent life.

A community management model was developed some years ago in an attempt to remedy this, but it has proved insufficient. With AFD’s support, the water network users’ associations (ASUREP) have already commissioned 27 mini-networks serving more than 400,000 people. This rising network is proving effective in distributing water to the poorest.

Sustainably managing forests

RDC/ DRC, forest, Bandundu

Sustainably managing forests

The DRC is home to more than 60% of the Congo Basin’s forests. Industrial forestry production is poor, however, (less than 5% of exported timber), and resources are threatened by uncontrolled logging, the expansion of slash-and-burn agriculture and strong household demand for wood (which accounts for more than 95% of energy use in the cities).

To help the country combat deforestation, AFD is encouraging the sustainable and controlled exploitation of the forest. Together with local actors, we are drawing up sustainable forest development plans in the three tropical rainforest zones, covering an area of more than 14 million hectares granted to forest operators.

The principles of our action:

  • to reconcile respect for the environment with meeting the needs of the population;
  • to determine which are the harvestable areas;
  • to provide monitoring and control of forest exploitation.

Supporting the financial and production sectors

RDC / DRC, Kinshasa, Kambaba

Supporting the financial and production sectors

Despite its natural resources, the DRC has to import a large proportion of its consumer goods. The production and processing industries are limited and agricultural potential is largely under-utilised, despite being second in the world only to Argentina.

Businesses are facing numerous obstacles: weak business governance, a burdensome tax system, poor banking system, lack of local qualified staff and the absence of basic transport, energy, highways and water infrastructure.

AFD is supporting the emergence of SMEs and the production sector, through loans and bank guarantees. With Proparco, our dedicated private sector subsidiary, we have particularly supported the creation of the Oxus DRC microfinance institute.

million euros committed between 2002 and 2016
people with better access to clean water
teachers receiving a salary

Located in Central Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo occupies a central position in the Congo basin region, bordered by eight countries. With more than 75 million inhabitants, it is the most populous French-speaking country in the world.

Yet it remains one of the poorest of the world’s countries, despite its considerable human and economic potential. Its young people have few job prospects and most of the population live below the poverty line.

Many years of armed conflict, political instability and the fragmentation of the country into isolated regions have largely contributed to this situation.
To face up to these challenges, the DRC has embarked on a number of priority reforms in the areas of education, health employment and budgetary management, all national priorities supported by AFD.

AFD has had a presence in the country since 1976 and is one of the Congolese authorities’ main partners. It supports public and private actors, primarily through donations but also with loans and bank guarantees.

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  • Climate
  • Infrastructure
  • Poverty
  • Sustainable Cities

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  • Grant
  • Sovereign Concessional Loan


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