During his first visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), International Development Minister Nick Hurd stressed the UK’s commitment to the country’s growth and reaffirmed the need for democratic elections to take place later this year.
Minister Hurd explored ways in which Britain can continue to work in partnership with the Congolese government on electoral reform, with the UK committing up to £11.4 million to support improvements in the system. Timely, credible elections will maintain political and economic stability, providing a platform for growth and development.
Nick Hurd said:
In my first visit the DRC, I saw the impressive progress made since the civil war claimed the lives of over five million people. UK aid has played its part in this, from providing millions of people with emergency food supplies, to increasing access to healthcare and malaria treatments.
Peaceful, credible and timely elections would consolidate these gains and I have reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to ensuring they take place. This is not only in the interests of the Congolese people, but also addresses issues which affect us here in the UK, such as migration and terrorism.
Minister Hurd also attended the launch of a new malaria programme aimed at increasing access to high quality anti-malarial drugs. Despite the considerable progress made in the fight against the disease, it still poses a serious threat to public health in the DRC, accounting for nearly a tenth of all cases in Africa.
In line with the UK’s Energy Africa campaign, which aims to accelerate the expansion of the household solar market in Africa and bring universal energy access in the continent forward from 2080 to 2030, the Minister also signed a provisional agreement to enable local people to benefit from reliable access to electricity generated from hydropower facility.
Decades of conflict and corruption have left DRC chronically unstable, lacking infrastructure and social services, and falling far short of its economic potential. UK aid is working to address the urgent needs of the most vulnerable and poorest people in DRC, while working with the Congolese government to enable it to provide and finance vital health, sanitation and education services in the long-term. UK aid has already had a dramatic impact in the country:
- 1.6 million additional people now have access to drinking water
- 150,000 have been reached with emergency food
- 18.9 million of people who vote in elections are supported by DFID
- 7.8 million bed nets have been distributed