Country Profile - Democratic Republic of the Congo


The goal of USAID/DRC’s five-year (2015-2019) Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) is to support the country’s long-term transition to more effective and empowering development. To achieve this goal, USAID invests substantially in three objectives: that selected national-level institutions more effectively implement their mandates (Development Objective 1); that lives are improved through coordinated development approaches in select regions (Development Objective 2); and that the foundation for durable peace is strengthened in eastern DRC (Transition Objective 3).

To maximize impact, USAID programming targets specific institutions, geographic regions, and technical sectors. Development Objective (DO) 1 focuses on strengthening national-level institutions. DO 2 targets provincial and local institutions in three former provinces—Kasai Occidental, Kasai Oriental, and Katanga—as well as large urban populations in the cities of Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Transition Objective (TO) 3 focuses on conflict-affected areas of eastern DRC: North and South Kivu, northern Katanga, and parts of Maniema and Orientale. USAID’s programs operate in the technical sectors described below.


USAID increases the availability of, demand for, and access to low-cost, high-impact primary health care. Following the Global Health Initiative’s strategy of government ownership, USAID health programs work with local partners, including faith-based organizations, to provide the DRC government’s approved package of services, which focuses on ending preventable maternal and child deaths; improving provision of potable water; prevention, care, and treatment services for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS; and the provision of family planning services. USAID also collaborates closely with other donors to improve the health of the Congolese population. In tandem with other U.S. government agencies as part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President’s Malaria Initiative, health programs provide technical and financial assistance to strengthen the DRC’s fragile health system and workforce, while improving access to integrated quality care.

USAID programs address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) through prevention and response activities, including medical care, counseling and family mediation, social and economic reintegration support, and legal aid.


USAID improves access to high quality basic education. Education programs enhance the quality of teacher training, provide teaching and learning materials, strengthen management capacity, mobilize communities around schools and education issues, deliver scholarships to students, provide alternative learning programs to out of school youth, and rehabilitate and equip schools. USAID uses innovative methods such as interactive radio instruction and student-centered learning to improve the effectiveness of teaching and increase student enrollment and achievement.


USAID improves good governance, expands the rule of law, and supports the holding of transparent and credible local and national elections. DRG programs strengthen the ability of Congolese political parties to represent and respond to citizens’ concerns, improve internal and campaign management, and include women and youth in decision-making. USAID also increases Congolese citizens’ access to information by training media professionals, assisting media outlets, and strengthening legal protections for journalists. USAID enables Congolese civil society organizations to educate citizens about the rights and roles of voters in a peaceful and inclusive electoral process, while also providing targeted technical assistance to the National Independent Election Commission to enable the organizing of credible and fair elections.


USAID invests in key aspects of the Congolese economy—agriculture, minerals and energy—to promote inclusive economic growth that reduces poverty and enhances food security. Targeted approaches include agricultural policy reform, agricultural livelihoods support, and food aid development assistance. USAID programming enhances civilian control of the DRC’s mineral trade through improved security, infrastructure, and institutional reform, and supports supply-chain-based solutions to the trade of conflict minerals. USAID also helps the Congolese government to improve governance in the energy sector and increase the country’s energy supply.


USAID supports the Congolese government’s Stabilization and Recovery Program through community-based reconstruction and infrastructure programs and by helping ex-combatants reintegrate into their communities. These activities are designed to mitigate ongoing conflict, with the long-term goal of improving state administration and access to social services in targeted areas.


USAID’s humanitarian assistance in the DRC includes the distribution of food aid; nutrition programming; social protection activities; activities promoting economic recovery and improved market systems; logistics and emergency relief commodities; and water, sanitation, and hygiene activities. USAID humanitarian health programs integrate prevention of SGBV and care and support for survivors throughout their activities. USAID also provides rapid responses to the emergency needs of newly displaced populations, and supports humanitarian coordination and critical air services. 


USAID/DRC implements regional activities through its Central Africa Regional Operating Unit (CAROU).

Environment The regional portfolio includes one of USAID’s largest environmental programs, the Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE), through which USAID assists the DRC and three other countries—Republic of Congo (ROC), Cameroon, and the Central African Republic (CAR)—to manage the natural resources of the Congo Basin. CARPE promotes the ecological integrity of the humid forest ecosystem of the Congo Basin through: (1) sustainably managing eight targeted forest landscapes, six of which are located either entirely or partially in the DRC; (2) mitigating threats to biodiversity in targeted landscapes; (3) establishing policy and regulatory environments for sustainable forest and biodiversity conservation; and (4) strengthening local and regional capacity to monitor forest cover change, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity. Through these activities, the program reduces deforestation and forest degradation, loss of biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Stabilization and Recovery CAROU’s portfolio includes activities countering the effects of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), strengthening the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and oversight of programming to CAR and ROC.

CAROU provides a full package of resilience and recovery activities to communities affected by the LRA, including early warning systems, community protection plans, psycho-social assistance for victims, and reintegration. Peacebuilding programming in CAR is focused on building social cohesion through community dialogues and economic recovery.