United States-Democratic Republic of Congo Relationship

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he will meet with government leaders and representatives of civil society to discuss the extensive partnership on issues including regional security, respect for human rights, environmental conservation, climate change, and bilateral trade and investment.

  • S. relations with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are deep and longstanding. The United States immediately established diplomatic relations with the DRC in 1960, following its independence from Belgium.
  • In April 2019 following President Tshisekedi’s visit to Washington, the United States and the DRC launched the “Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity,” a joint commitment reflecting the closer U.S.-DRC relationship and a public pledge to work together on areas of mutual interest, including strengthening democratic institutions, improving respect for human rights, ending impunity, promoting peace in eastern DRC, and attracting U.S. trade and investment. In February 2021, given the shared U.S. and DRC focus on climate change, a fifth “P” – Preservation of the Environment – was added.
  • Under President Tshisekedi, the United States has a steadfast partner to advance our mutual global priorities, including combating the climate crisis, countering illicit trafficking, responding to multiple security and humanitarian crises, promoting respect for democracy and human rights, securing supply chains of critical minerals necessary for the global transition to cleaner forms of energy, and mitigating transnational organized crime.
  • We welcome the Congolese government’s renewed pledges to deliver on long-promised reforms and root out pervasive corruption, which is an underlying driver of instability.
  • The U.S. and DRC held the first ever bilateral human rights dialogue in June 2021 to discuss challenges related to freedom of expression, trafficking in persons, and allegations of security force abuses. In recognition of the country’s positive steps to improve democratic practices and good governance, the DRC joined the Summit for Democracy in December 2021. We support the Congolese government’s efforts to consolidate those gains to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law.
  • We appreciate the Congolese government’s co-sponsorship of a resolution on minerals and metals management at the February 2022 UN Environment Assembly and look forward to working with the DRC on its implementation.
  • The United States supports the government of the DRC’s decision to review mining contracts and greater accountability in the sector. We encourage the DRC to continue its collaboration and work on fiscal transparency, labor rights, and adherence to environmental, social, and governance standards for the mining sector. The United States is providing more than $30 million in assistance to help the DRC promote responsible and sustainable mining practices.
  • We salute President Tshisekedi’s commitment to protect the Congo Basin Forest and ensure the DRC is a “solution country” to the climate crisis. We welcome the DRC’sleadership to organize the Pre-COP27 in Kinshasa. We appreciate our cooperation to protect our shared home.
  • We appreciate President Tshisekedi’s regional leadership. As President of the African Union last year, and through leadership in other regional organizations, he has demonstrated visionary leadership for the continent.
  • The United States and the DRC enjoy a robust, longstanding, and trusting relationship on global health, most notably combating Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks, which established a strong foundation for the COVID-19 pandemic response. With U.S. government support through USAID and CDC, the DRC has contained six EVD outbreaks in the past four years, declaring the most recent outbreak over this past July. These U.S. contributions to the EVD response were a natural expansion of our longstanding support for Congolese health systems.
  • The United States has provided more than $1.7 billion in health assistance to the DRC over the past 20 years. The DRC is also a U.S. global health security intensive support partner country, which serves as a platform for cooperating on zoonotic disease, workforce development, lab systems, and more.
  • The United States supports the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), which plays a critical role in the protection of civilians, delivery of humanitarian assistance, and support to the Government of the DRC in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts.
  • The United States is providing $23.75 million in support of the DRC’s election, including to strengthen transparency and electoral administration, improve civic and voter education, empower the population (including women and youth) to meaningfully participate in elections, and help marginalized communities to understand and access political processes. In July, USAID and State announced $2 million and $1 million respectively to fund international and domestic observation of the elections. This commitment demonstrates our desire to see free and fair elections in 2023 with electoral processes that are transparent and inclusive. In August, USAID provided an additional $10 million to promote peaceful political participation and transparency in the 2023 elections. This new funding will expand current programming into more difficult-to-reach areas where the risk of alienating or disenfranchising the population and causing or exacerbating violent conflict is highest during the 2023 election cycle.
  • DRC is one of the eight new target countries where Feed the Future will help develop the DRC’s own food and agricultural systems.
  • Working with Congress, the United States plans to invest $37 million in development assistance, in the DRC to expand access to fertilizer and promote more efficient use of it given increased costs, expand access to social safety nets and strengthen nutrition programming, especially for children under five.
  • The State Department has committed an additional $6 million to assist the DRC in improving its criminal justice system, addressing corruption, and fighting trafficking of mineral resources and wildlife.
  • On July 13-14 in Kinshasa, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, a State Department partner, hosted a symposium attended by the Minister of Interior highlighting the success of a program funded by the United States in close partnership with Congolese stakeholders to support vital early warning systems for vulnerable communities in five Eastern provinces, an initiative made more vital as MONUSCO continues to draw down.
/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.