The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) is the second largest nation in sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of more than 77 million that is growing by nearly 3 per cent annually.
Of the country’s 2.35 million km, more than half is forest. Along with the rainforests of the Amazon DR Congo’s forest is considered one of the two "lungs of the world".
An estimated 65 million Congolese, of whom more than 65 per cent are young people, live in rural areas. According to a study by the African Development Bank, 72 per cent of rural households and 59 per cent of urban households are poor.
Rural young people flee rural poverty, tension and conflict for the outskirts of cities, especially Lubumbashi, Kisangani and Kinshasa, in search of work.
DR Congo is still recovering from a series of conflicts that broke out in the 1990s, and the United Nations estimates that there are some 2.3 million displaced people in the country and another 323,000 citizens in refugee camps outside the country.
Besides great mineral resources DR Congo has an extraordinary wealth of arable land, forest, biodiversity and water. Just 10 million of the country’s 80 million hectares of arable land are cultivated.
There is vast potential for growth, including of farming which generates just 40 per cent of GDP, but employs 70 per cent of the workforce.
A growing population and high food prices offer attractive markets and an opportunity to develop farming and cut poverty in both towns and country.
DR Congo is an IFAD member since 1977.
IFAD loans support national initiatives for agricultural recovery, food security and youth employment both in rural areas and urban hinterlands.
Our country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2012-2016) has been designed in consultation with many local stakeholders. Focused on achieving results, it has two strategic objectives:
- improving smallholder farmers' access to effective production services, appropriate technologies and local markets; and
- developing farmers' organizations so that they can become economic partners with private enterprises in rural areas.
In DR Congo, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, IFAD and the World Food Programme have formed a single consortium which is leading all agricultural and rural development matters and community dynamics with our technical and financial partners.
In 2014, this collaboration in partnership with the DR Congo government was recognized when it won the Award of Excellence from the UN’s Rome-based agencies
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest nation in sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of more than 77 million that is growing by nearly 3 per cent a year.
An estimated 65 million Congolese, of whom more than 65 per cent are young people, live in rural areas.
According to a study by the African Development Bank, 72 per cent of rural households and 59 per cent of urban households live in poverty.
Since 1980, IFAD has invested a total of US$183.4 million in 8 projects and programmes in DR Congo, benefiting 504,400 households.