During his first visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Minister emphasised the UK’s commitment to its people and stressed our continued work in partnership to build a developed, stable and prosperous DRC.
In the capital city Kinshasa, Minister Wharton met Prime Minister Matata and Vice Prime Minister of Interior and Security Boshab. He urged them, as part of the DRC Government, to ensure peaceful, timely and free and fair elections, following a history of violent political transitions and recent civil unrest. He also called on the Government to tackle the current economic challenges facing the country.
The Minister saw the positive impact of the UK’s investment in a power plant at Virunga Park, in Matebe, which is providing 96 megawatts of clean energy, creating around 100,000 jobs and boosting economic development.
This investment is routed through CDC, the UK and the world’s oldest development finance institution. CDC is making pioneering investments in the hardest to reach markets across Africa to support local businesses, stimulate economic growth and help countries lift themselves out of poverty.
Minister James Wharton said:
“This is an historic moment for DRC and an opportunity for this great country to make its first ever peaceful transition of power, building stability and security – which is firmly in DRC and the UK’s interests. All parties need to find a genuinely inclusive agreement, which is vital before elections take place.
“I have seen first-hand how the UK is providing lifesaving assistance and supporting the country to tackle poverty, stimulate economic growth and create jobs and livelihoods for the poorest people, helping them to stand on their own two feet.”
In Goma in Eastern DRC, the Minister saw how the UK is working with local partners such as the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to deliver life-changing support to the most vulnerable people. He met beneficiaries of a UK aid-funded urban water and sanitation programme, which is providing 150,000 people with clean water.
He also visited an ICRC hospital – supported by UK aid – and met war surgeons who are saving lives of those harmed by conflict, treating emergency wounds and supporting the physical rehabilitation and psychological recovery of patients, including amputees.
Over the last 5 years, UK support in DRC has helped:
- Provide 1.6 million people with sustainable access to clean water and 1.36 million people with improved sanitation
- Provide 150,000 people with emergency food assistance
- Improve access to security and justice services for 950,000 girls and women
- Enable 600,000 mothers to give birth safely and 200,000 women to access family planning support.