Canada - Democratic Republic of Congo Relations
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Canada is represented by the Canadian Embassy in Kinshasa. The first Canadian ambassador was accredited in the DRC in 1962 and the embassy in Kinshasa opened its doors in 1965. The embassy was closed from 1993 to 1997 to protest against human rights abuses by the Mobutu regime. The DRC has been represented in Canada by an embassy in Ottawa since 1965.
Canada's relations with the DRC are mainly focused on the longstanding support of efforts to ensure the establishment of a durable peace, particularly in the eastern part of the country. Canada continues to emphasize the importance of addressing the root causes and the drivers of the conflict in the East, among others, the ethnic tensions, the disputes over resources and territories and the funding of the hostilities through the exploitation and illegal trafficking of natural resources. Canada is concerned about the prevalence of human rights violations, particularly acts of sexual violence in the eastern DRC. Canada continues to work with its international partners and those in the Great Lakes Region through its diplomatic and humanitarian commitments, development and peacekeeping aid, for which Canada gave more than $500 million since 2006.
The DRC hosted the 14th Francophonie Summit in Kinshasa in October 2012. Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the Summit, and took this opportunity to express his concern about the situation in the DRC and stress the necessity of making progress in the area of human rights, promoting democracy and stabilizing the situation in the East. He also announced additional assistance for the transparent and responsible management of natural resources and to fight and prevent sexual violence. This additional support will mainly be aimed at ensuring that those who commit such violence are brought to justice and given appropriate sentences.
In June 2014, the DRC was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada’s international development efforts. Canada draws on the priorities identified in the DRC national development plan and on its past programming and current priorities to guide its international development programming in DRC. The goal of Canada’s international development program in DRC is to help the country achieve equitable and sustainable poverty reduction and strengthen the Congolese institutions. Canada supports efforts that focus on securing a future for children and youth and on promoting governance and democracy. Canada also provides humanitarian assistance to communities in the DRC affected by conflict.
Canada has contributed $51.31 million in development assistance in the DRC between 2012 and 2013, including over $21 million in humanitarian aid.
Under the thematic priority of Children and Youth, Canada's bilateral assistance strengthens the capacity of the DRC health system and helps improve access to primary health care, especially for those most vulnerable: women and children. Furthermore, Canada contributes to the protection of children and youth and to long-term peace and stability in the DRC.
Canada also provides support to victims of sexual violence in the DRC by providing essential services such as physical and psychological health care. Programming in this area is focussed on preventing sexual violence and the prosecution in court of the perpetrators of these acts. Since this problem goes beyond the DRC, the DFATD also finances a project to prevent and fight sexual violence in the Great Lakes Region since 2006.
Since 1999, Canada has contributed more than $ 300 million toward MONUC / MONUSCO to support peacekeeping efforts. The Canadian Forces deploy nine officers and Canadian contributions to the mission through the UN peacekeeping budget for 2014-2015 are approximately $ 41 million (US).
Canada has a modest but growing trade relationship with the DRC. In 2014, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and DRC amounted to $51.5 million. DRC was ranked Canada’s 122th export destination in the world in 2014 and Canada’s 109th source of imports in the world. Top Canadian merchandise exports to the DRC include textiles, machinery, and motor vehicles, totaling $25.2 million. Canadian merchandise imports from the DRC comprise mainly of cocoa, wood, precious stones and metals totaling $26.3 million
Canadian investment in the DRC are important, particularly in the mining sector. The DRC is the third largest Canadian mining assets in Africa with a total of $ 3 billion. The Congolese market is extremely diverse, however the business and investment environment poses serious challenges for most companies.
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