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Economy of Congo

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Economy of Congo Dem. Republic. * Trade DR Congo's economy has been stifled by years of conflict and corruption. But mineral reserves mean it has potential to be a wealthy country. The $870m diamond industry provides work for around one million people, but many diggers earn less than $1 a day in dangerous conditions. Between 1999 and 2001, DR Congo enjoyed a brief coltan boom, becoming the second largest producer of tantalum - used in mobile phones. War has disrupted farming as well as trade and the country lacks infrastructure to provide adequate food, clean water, healthcare and education. It is hoped the elections will create an environment for greater foreign investment and a more organised exploitation of resources. * Level of income per capita Congo (Dem. Rep.)-18%. Clandestine miners live on about $1 a day. The 40 square km mine belongs to the state diamond company Miniere du Bakwanga (MIBA) ...read more.


This would generate a turnover of $1bn per year, at least 30% of which would be pure profit. * Aids Those who live along the banks of the Congo river in this sprawling and dilapidated city are used to hardship, despite the potential wealth of this vast country. It was plundered by Mobutu, ripped apart by foreign armies in the war, and now faces economic upheaval as the new President, Joseph Kabila, scraps low fuel prices and lets the currency float. That move may please the IMF, but it has forced up prices, which makes life even harder for those with HIV/AIDS and unable to earn a living. For those who can afford treatment, Kinshasa has a general hospital, the largest in the country. Patients pay for everything their beds, treatment, medicines where available, even HIV tests, and rely on families or friends to bring them food. Even a public ward like this costs two dollars a day, well out of the reach of many who are sick. ...read more.


And the orphans of parents killed by AIDS now present a massive social problem for the Congo and for Africa. An English lesson at St Valentine school, out near Kinshasa airport. Almost all the children are orphans, their fees paid by a Congolese charity. Judith Tudiongonga is just 15. Her mother died of AIDS three years ago, her father one year ago. Now when she leaves school, she has to walk home in her broken shoes, a journey of nearly an hour, and act like a mother herself. Her two brothers and sister, aged from nine to six, have been waiting for her return. They are a sad, quiet, young family, worried about their future. Judith wants to find a job when she leaves school so she can continue to look after them. But she's terrified that they could all lose their home. An aunt, a member of her father's family, is trying to seize the house, a common practice in Kinshasa, where a surviving wife and children often find themselves evicted after a husband has died. ...read more.

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