?Our increase in assistance demonstrates the United States' commitment to working side-by-side with the Congolese people toward a more stable and prosperous country,? said the USAID Administrator, during the press conference held in Kinshasa on 17 March, after her journey in Goma, in North Kivu and in Ituri, in Orientale Province.
Considering the humanitarian aid of the American government to the DR Congo alone, including its contribution to MONUC, the amount of assistance would surpass $400 million in 2008.
On Goma peace conference that took place between 6 until 24 January last, the USAID chief encouraged the DRC government ?to build upon the current window of opportunity to cement a lasting peace after years of conflict.?
In the East of the country where the wars ?have taken an unbearable toll on the population of this country,? Ms. Fore visited Heal Africa Hospital in Goma where she met the ?survivors of gender-based violence.?
?Without progress on Peace and Security issues, in particular Security Sector Reform and Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (SSR/DDR), progress in addressing the DRC's development challenges is in jeopardy,? she warned.
She called the international community to ensure that support for this process ?happens at the same pace as investments in development sectors in order to have a sustained impact in helping the DRC to become a secure, stable nation.?
Regarding the presidential 2006 elections which ?marked a major step toward stability in the DRC, with a new beginning for democracy,? USAID Administrator exhorted the leaders to meet people's expectations by fighting corruption as well as impunity.
She urged the government and the people of the DRC to invest in a country where ?the private sector can flourish.? To achieve this, two elements are essential: First, ?the Congolese people - and especially women and girls - must be treated with respect.? Secondly, ?it will pay to be good stewards? of DRC's vast natural resources that provide the raw materials for economic growth.
On this matter, Ms. Fore said, the U.S. Government supports investment in the Congolese people through education, skills and training, and health care. As to the USAID, it assists the DRC through public-private partnerships to provide HIV/AIDS care to the staff of some of DRC's main mining companies.
?Our hope is that, in partnership with the Congolese people, the American people can help to bring peace and prosperity to the Democratic Republic of Congo,? the Administrator of USAID concluded.
USAID Mission Director in the DRC, Stephen Haykin and U.S. Ambassador to the DRC, William Garvelink, were present at this conference.