Conflict and Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A Review of Related Literature

Mbangu Anicet Muyingi

Abstract


Remarkably little research has been conducted on the potential of conflict resolution, a challenge to development in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Underpinned by participatory development and conflict resolution theories, the paper conceptualises conflict resolution as a collective effort by Congolese to resolve their conflict in a peaceful manner to achieve better quality of life for the country, through making it a better place for development activities. A contribution is made by the article in the provision of a comprehensive historical account of the events, personalities and environment that formed the policy for conflict that is affecting development goals in the DRC. This historical account is analysed through institutional frameworks to explain the antecedents that have resulted in conflict resolution policy outcomes, which presently exist in the country. The reason for considering conflict and development is that the development impasse of Africa generally, and the DRC in particular, can be attributed to the internal and external conflict since its independence. While development theory, and discourse from modernisation theory to global neo-liberalism, have dominated development strategies on the continent and the DRC, and produced a bereft of development, conflict has systematically undermined the development.This article seeks to identify and discuss the major cause of conflict that challenges the implementation of conflict resolution, which is affecting political and socio-economic development in the DRC. The research shows that discrimination is the main cause of conflict in the country. The article explores the period of economic growth in the DRC, as well as its economic decline, as brought about by conflict. Certain reasons for this economic decline are suggested, of which the most important are the economic policies of Zairianisation and radicalisation, which have introduced discrimination within the country. The results show that development can occur in the DRC if only an atmosphere of peace, justice, security and stability is attainable for the country. The outcome of conflict resolutions, or all agreements signed in Lusaka (Zambia) and Sun City (South Africa), in 1999 and 2002 respectively, showed that not all the parties involved in the conflict were at the signing of the agreement. The result of this is that conflict continues unhindered in the DRC and, in turn, affects the development goals of the country. The findings indicate that there were a number of challenges facing the implementation of conflict resolution. Key to these are weak institutions, lack of confidence in each member of the government, sustainability problems, poor intergovernmental relations, land ownership, bad governance, high levels of poverty and inequality. The article makes some recommendations to the government and concludes that political and socio-economic discrimination should be avoided in order for development to occur. Only an environment of peace, security, justice, equality and unity will allow the promotion of development goals in the DRC, and conflict resolution should be implemented, in a peaceful way, for DRC to be a better place for development.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n3p491


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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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