Corruption Challenges and Responses in the Democratic Republic of Congo 

14th January 2022
Author: Marianne Rahmé

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) consistently scores in the lowest rungs of global indexes on corruption, integrity and wider governance standards. Indeed, corruption of different sorts pervades public and corporate life, with strong ramifications for human development. Although the DRC is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources, its people are among the globe’s poorest.Corruption in the extractive industries (minerals and oil) is particularly problematic in terms of scale and its centrality to a political economy that maintains elites and preserves the highly inequitable outcomes for the majority. The politico-economic elites of the DRC, such as former President Joseph Kabila, are reportedly significant perpetrators but multinationals seeking valuable minerals or offering financial services are also allegedly deeply involved. Corruption is therefore a problem with national and international roots.Despite national and international initiatives, levels of corruption have proven very stubborn for at least the last 20 years, for various reasons. It is a structural and not just a legal issue. It is deeply entrenched in the country’s political economy and is driven both by domestic clientelism and the fact that multinationals buy into corrupt deals. This rapid review therefore seeks to find out the Corruption challenges and responses in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Grand level corruption shades down into the meso-level, where for instance, mineral laden trucks are systematically under-weighted with the collusion of state officials. With severe shortfalls in public funding, certain public services, such as education, are supported by informal payments. Other instances of petty corruption facilitate daily access to goods and services. At this level, there are arguments against counting such practices as forms of corruption and instead as necessary survival practices.To address the challenge of corruption, the DRC is equipped with a legal system that is of mixed strengths and an institutional arsenal that has made limited progress. International programming in integrity and anti-corruption represents a significant proportion of support to the DRC but much less than humanitarian and governance sectors. The leading international partners in this regard are the EU, US, UNDP, UK, African Development Bank, Germany and Sweden. These partners conduct integrity programming in general governance issues, as well as in the mineral and forest sectors.The sources used in this rapid review are gender blind and converge on a very negative picture The literature ranges from the academic and practitioner to the journalistic and investigative, and taken as a whole, is of good quality, drawing on different types of evidence including perceptions and qualitative in-country research. The sources are mostly in English with two in French.

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Suggested Citation

Rahmé, M and Walsh, A. (2022). Corruption challenges and responses in the Democratic Republic of Congo. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. DOI.10.19088/K4D.2022.093


14th January 2022


Continent: Africa

Country: Democratic Republic of Congo