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United States Support to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

US Department of State Office of the Spokesman - October 31, 2007

We support the Congolese people in their efforts to promote peace and democratic values in the post-transition period. Our assistance helps to consolidate peace through efforts to revitalize the economy, enhance national security, deliver basic services, and strengthen governance and rule of law. In FY07, we provided over $462 million in assistance to the DRC, including $77 million in development, and security assistance, $85 million in humanitarian assistance (including refugee support) and $300 million to support the peace keeping mission.

Peace and Security

Security Sector Reform: We are working with the Congolese to assist in developing a professional national military. Through programs administered by the Departments of State and Defense, the United States assists the DRC to reform key sectors of the Ministry of Defense and the National Army. We also provide support for training rapid response battalions.

United Nations Peacekeeping Mission: In FY 2007, we contributed over $300 million to fund the operations of the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in the DRC (MONUC). MONUC played an instrumental supporting role in the presidential elections last year and continues to play a pivotal role in increasing security in the country.

Reintegration of Ex-Combatants: Through USAID, we are supporting the reintegration of ex-combatants.

Governing Justly and Democratically

Justice and Human Rights: Through USAID and the Department of State, we support efforts to strengthen judicial independence, expand access to justice, advocate for human rights, and build the capacity of new judiciary personnel.

Good Governance: Through the Department of State and USAID, we support activities to clearly define the roles of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. It also is working to create a legal framework for decentralization.

Elections and Political Processes: After elections last year, we are now focusing on encouraging organizational development, political parties, and the transformation of the Independent Election Commission into a permanent institution.

Civil Society: We are working to build a more active and representative civil society through capacity building and public awareness.

Child Labor: Through the Department of Labor, we supported a four-year project to reintegrate 4,000 war-affected children in the DRC. A new project began this year, which will provide vocational training, formal and non-formal education, and start-up kits.

Investing in People

Education: Through USAID, we are focusing on immediate needs in primary education by improving access to and the quality of basic education. USAID activities support teacher training, distribution of educational materials, girls’ scholarships, reduction of school fees, and encouraging community participation in education.

Health: Through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USAID, we are working to support the Congolese government service delivery of malaria prevention and treatment, micronutrient supplementation, family planning, and routine immunization.

Protection of Vulnerable Populations: Through the Department of State and USAID, we provide medical assistance, psychosocial support, advocacy, judicial support and socio-economic reintegration services to victims of torture and gender-based violence in Eastern DRC.

Economic Growth

Bilateral Debt Relief: We intend to provide 100 percent cancellation of $2.2 billion in outstanding bilateral claims on the DRC, in coordination with the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) framework.

Multilateral Debt Relief: We support the cancellation of the vast majority of the DRC’s approximately $8 billion in external debt through the HIPC framework and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. We exercised strong leadership, along with the United Kingdom, in developing and securing agreement on the latter landmark initiative.

Agriculture: Through USAID, we are working to increase income-generating agriculture and promote food security through dissemination of disease-resistant food crops. These activities largely target war-affected populations.

Private Sector: Through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, we are providing risk insurance for a $1 billion investment project by Freeport McMoRan, a U.S.-based mining company operating in the DRC. USAID has established a public-private partnership with major mining companies to make social development investments in Katanga province.

Energy: Through USAID, we provided technical assistance to the Central African Power Pool (CAPP) to organize and promote trade in electrical energy among regional countries. Through the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, we signed an agreement to prepare a feasibility study for a hydropower project in Katanga province.

Forestry and Conservation: In 2002, we helped to launch the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) to promote good governance and sustainable management of natural resources in the Congo Basin.

Humanitarian Assistance

Emergency Assistance: Through USAID, we provide life-saving assistance for internally-displaced persons and returnees. This assistance focuses on health and nutrition sectors, shelter and household equipment, and agricultural production. In FY07, USAID provided $25.1 million and reached over 2 million beneficiaries, largely in war-impacted areas. We also provided $37.8 million in FY07 for emergency food aid assistance. In addition, USAID and CDC provided $591,000 to combat the Ebola epidemic.

Refugees: Through the Department of State, we support the return and reintegration of Congolese refugees and assisting other conflict-affected populations in the DRC. In FY07, the State Department provided nearly $22 million primarily in the sectors of protection, health, livelihoods, water and sanitation, and gender-based violence. The Department of State also contributed $50.7 million and $39.7 million to UNHCR and the ICRC respectively for their Africa –wide programs, a portion of which supports programs in the DRC.

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