MVP Sustainability Map
Democratic Republic of The Congo
GDP Per Capita
Ch. Naeem Ahmad bajwa; License CC BY-SA 4.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_natural_tunnel_on_Matadi_Boma_road_in_Democratic_Republic_of_Congo_photo_by_Ch._naeem_Ahmad_Bajwa._date_12_mai_2014.jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
Nhobgood; License CC BY-SA 3.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tree_frog_congo.jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office; License CC BY 2.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illegal_Wildlife_Trade_Conference_London_2018_(44555739744).jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
Esther N'sapu; License CC BY-SA 4.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Une_m%C3%A8re_et_sa_fille.jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
The vast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is blessed and cursed with enormous natural resources.
With half of Africa's forests and water resources and trillion-dollar mineral reserves the country has a difficult future ahead navigating the pressures on the demand for the extraction of its natural resources from a growing global population adding eight million more people a year and the consequential environmental damages it causes.
The 2017 United Nation Environmental Program study warns of alarming trends including increased deforestation, species depletion, heavy metal pollution and land degradation from mining, as well as an acute drinking water crisis which has left an estimated 51 million Congolese without access to potable water. In August of 2022, The Week reported Congolese authorities would begin selling oil and gas permits in Gorilla habitat, including into Virunga National Park.
The UNEP also notes the DRC has the highest level of biodiversity in Africa, yet large numbers of species are classified as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Up to 1.7 million tonnes of bushmeat are harvested annually from unregulated hunting and poaching, contributing to species depletion.
The country’s enormous natural resources and minimal per capita GDP, can support its current population and remain sustainable for quite some time. However a fertility rate averaging 6 children per mother contributes to an alarming population growth rate whose numbers highly depend on those natural resources for their survival. (1)
With over a quarter of Congolese married women preferring to delay or prevent childbearing DRC's President in December of 2018 signed a revised comprehensive public health bill into law creating a new legal environment favorable to family planning and reproductive health in the country (2) The implementation of the law will bring much desired reproductive autonomy, health and economic improvement to women and children’s lives and slow population growth and destruction of the environment.
(1) UNEP August 2017