The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is located in southern central Africa, covers an area of approximately 2,345,000 km2 and has a population estimated to be 50 million. The DRC has significant mineral and energy resources, including deposits of copper, cobalt, manganese, gold, diamonds, uranium and zinc.
The former Belgian Congo has been an independent republic
since 30 June 1960. In May 1997 Laurent Kabila ousted the then
President Mobuto and declared himself president, resulting in
a period of considerable unrest. Joseph Kabila assumed the
presidency after the assassination of his father in January
2001. In April 2003, following months of negotiation, a peace
accord was signed confirming Joseph Kabila as President,
appointing representatives of the various factions to a
government of national unity and agreeing to hold democratic
elections by 30 June 2005. These elections were deferred to
July 2006 due to logistical difficulties. A run off election
between Joseph Kabila and John Pierre Mbemba was held in
October 2006, confirming Joseph Kabila as President for a 5
year term. The country continues to consolidate its political
and bureaucratic processes and this is expected to continue
into the future.
The United Nations has mandated MONUC to assist the DRC
Government in reforming the DRC's security forces and in
organising elections. MONUC is staffed with approximately
15,000 troops and 3,500 support staff and continues to
maintain its presence.