Canada–Democratic Republic of the Congo relations
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Canada–Democratic Republic of the Congo relations Map indicating locations of Canada and Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Canada–Democratic Republic of the Congo relations refers to the bilateral relationship between Canada and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Canada has an embassy in Kinshasa and D.R. Congo has an embassy in Ottawa.
While the Canadian government provided in 2009 US$40 million in development aid to the DRC,(1) Canadian companies held US$4.5 billion in mining-related investments there,(2) making the DRC the first or second-largest African destination for Canadian mining activities at the end of the 2000s.(3)(4) The Government of Canada has reported 28 Canadian mining and exploration companies operating in the D.R. Congo between 2001 and 2009, of which four (Anvil Mining, First Quantum Minerals, Katanga Mining, Lundin Mining) were engaged in commercial-scale extraction, with their collective assets in the DRC ranging from Cdn.$161 mill. in 2003 up to $5.2 bill. in 2008,(5) and these companies were supported in 2009 by Canadian and Quebec public pension plan investments of Cdn.$319 mill. Natural Resources Canada valued Canadian mining assets in the DRC at Cdn.$2.6 bn. in 2011.(6)
In 2010, Canada’s temporary delay and abstention from a World Bank decision to cancel most of the D.R. Congo’s external debt and complete the review of the DRC’s Extended Credit Facility,(7) was officially based on Canadian concerns over reform sustainability adversely affecting DRC’s investment climate and development objectives(8) While Canada’s actions drew criticism from the Congolese government, diplomatic relations were not deemed to have been impaired.(9) Canada also expressed concerns over the DRC’s relations with Canadian companies,(10) and the abstention was reportedly linked directly to First Quantum’s legal proceedings.(11)
In addition to a total of 2,200 Canadian military personnel deployed to Congolese and Zairean conflicts during 1960–1964 and 1996, individual Canadians have had significant roles in the history of the Congo, including:
Leading the military conquest of the Katanga region for Belgium’s King Leopold II in 1891: William Grant Stairs.(12)
Printing, from 1903 to 1908, the very first books to be published in the Lingala language, a language which became a lingua franca of the D.R. Congo, with 25 million speakers worldwide: Mère Marie-Bernadette.(13)
Leading diplomatic and military missions of the United Nations to Zaire and the D.R. Congo during the 1990s and 2000s: Raymond Chrétien, 1996;(14) Maurice Baril, 1996(15) and 2003; Philip Lancaster, 2008–2009(16) and 2010.(17)
Political counsel to President Laurent Kabila during 1997–1998: former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark.
Plotting, unsuccessfully, an overthrow of Laurent Kabila’s government in 1998: Robert Stewart.
Management and partial privatization of the D.R. Congo’s national mining company, Gécamines, 2005–2009: Paul Fortin.
Legal representation for former military leader Laurent Nkunda against allegations of war crimes at a military tribunal in Rwanda, 2009–2010: Stéphane Bourgon.
In 1887, William Henry Faulknor, a young Canadian from Hamilton, Ontario who had joined the Plymouth Brethren evangelical movement, arrived at Bunkeya, in Katanga, a centralized state ruled by Msiri; Msiri employed Faulknor and other missionaries as “errand boys”, symbols of his influence, while Faulknor taught and converted a small group of redeemed slaves.
William Grant Stairs (1863–1892), a Canadian born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and educated at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, was a civil engineer, explorer and mercenary who was appointed by Belgium’s King Leopold II to lead an expedition in 1891 of four hundred men which captured the Katanga (Shaba) copper territories for Belgium. Contemporaneous accounts of the expedition reported that during a confrontation, Katanga’s king Msiri was shot dead and then decapitated, the head placed on a stake by Stairs’s forces. Stairs then began reorganising affairs, appointing Msiri’s son Mukandavantu (Mukanda Bantu) to replace Msiri, and securing the Congo State’s authority over a fifty-mile radius. Stairs himself died of malaria only six months later while on trek to the coast, in Chinde, Mozambique, and was buried there. The Brethren missionaries including Faulknor made no attempt to obstruct Stairs’s campaign and relied on the Belgian military following Msiri’s defeat. Faulknor left Katanga in 1892, and returned to Canada. The Canadian Baptist Mission (Mission des Baptistes Réguliers du Canada) established a presence in the Congo in 1926, and had two missions in southern Léopoldville Province in 1946.
Possibly the earliest Canadian woman to live and work in the Congo was a Catholic missionary and book printer from Quebec: Mère Marie-Bernadette (née Bernadette Beaupré) was born in 1877 in Saint-Raymond, entered the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in 1894, and died in Boma, Congo Free State in 1908, from trypanosomiasis. On her departure for the Congo, Soeur Marie-Bernadette was destined for an orphanage to be founded at the mission station of Stanley-Falls, however she was posted downriver at Nouvelle-Anvers instead, arriving there on 27 July 1900. Having received training in typesetting while at the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary institute in Vanves, France,  Marie-Bernadette was designated in 1901 by Égide De Boeck (1875–1944), the Scheut missionary and vice-director of the colonial boarding school at Nouvelle-Anvers, to undertake the printing and binding of the very first books to be published in the Lingala language; these grammars, lexicons, religious tracts and hymn books were authored by De Boeck, and by Father Camille Van Ronslé. With a very limited supply of type, only one page could be printed at a time, however at least eight volumes in Lingala were published under Marie-Bernadette’s guidance, beginning in 1903 with Mambi makristu [Things Christian] by Van Ronslé and Buku moke moa kutanga Lingala [Little book for reading Lingala] by De Boeck. One century later, Lingala, which De Boeck had constructed from elements of Bangala and other Bantu languages including Bobangi, Mabale and Iboko, has 25 million speakers worldwide, and has become a lingua franca in both the D.R. Congo and the Republic of the Congo.
In Canada, church groups in Victoria and Ottawa contributed to the European condemnation of the atrocities committed by King Leopold II against Congolese slave labourers, in the form of a letter written to Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, calling upon Britain to “secure to the people of the Congo Free State due protection and justice”, and this public pressure ultimately led in 1908 to Leopold’s relinquishment, and creation of the Belgian Congo colony.
In 1939, the United States purchased 1,200 tons of uranium ore from the Union Minière du Haut Katanga’s Shinkolobwe mine in the Belgian Congo, that was warehoused on Staten Island, New York City. The Canadian municipality of Port Hope, Ontario was site of the former radium producer and, at that time, sole North American uranium refiner, Eldorado Mining and Refining Limited, which between 1941 and 1946 provided a steady supply of refined uranium oxide to the Manhattan Project. In 1942, the Canadian government acquired Eldorado, making it a crown corporation in 1944. Eldorado’s initial supplies were derived from uranium concentrates at Port Hope that had accumulated as tailings from its past radium operations, and, beginning in 1942, refined from newly mined ore shipped from its re-opened Great Bear Lake pitchblende mine in the Northwest Territories. Eldorado in addition refined at Port Hope the US’s Congolese ore stockpile that had been shipped from the New York storage facility, and further shipments of ore from the Congo. The 1,100 tons of Canadian-mined uranium, and 3,700 tons from the Congo that were refined in Canada, along with 1,200 tons from Colorado, comprised the six thousand tons of uranium oxide that formed the Manhattan Project’s raw materials for the fissionable cores of the uranium-235 and plutonium-239 atomic bombs that were released and exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in August 1945, immediately killing an estimated thirty percent of Hiroshima’s civilian and military population, and resulting in an estimated total of 293,000 fatalities in the two cities, from both the immediate blast and long-term radiation exposure.
The Belgian Congo became, after the Second World War, one of the first of Canada’s commercial partners in Africa, the first trade post outside the British Commonwealth, with a trade commissioner posted in Leopoldville in 1948, ranking it among Canada’s top dozen trading partners; in the mid-1950s the Canadian company Aluminum Limited attempted to gain control of the construction of the Inga hydro-electric power project at Matadi on the Congo River, however they “anxiously preferred to remain discreet” to avoid “antagoniz[ing] Belgian business interests”.
The Royal Bank of Canada partnered in 1957 with eight other international banks in furnishing a $40 million World Bank loan to the Belgian Congo for the building of roads. In their 1962 book Anatomy of Big Business, Libbie and Frank Park traced a direct connection from the Royal Bank’s president and vice-president’s directorship of Sogemines Ltd., a Canadian investment and holding company and Belgian subsidiary, to shared directorship in the Belgian parent conglomerate, Société Générale de Belgique, which also owned the Congolese firm Union Minière du Haut-Katanga. The authors identified an extended network involving major Canadian corporations including Canadian Petrofina Ltd., Abitibi Power and Paper Company, Trans-Canada Pipe Lines Ltd., Noranda Mines Ltd., and Dominion Steel & Coal Corp. Ltd., concluding that “[e]veryone is happy; everyone is scratching everyone else’s back at a profit – and profits are extracted from the labor of Congo workers who up till recently have had nothing to say about the situation”.
In July 1960, the newly appointed Congolese prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, made an official visit to Canada (Montreal and Ottawa), requesting Francophone technical assistance for his country, however financial assistance was turned down by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. During the ensuing Congo Crisis, about 1,800 Canadians from 1960 to 1964 served among the 93,000 predominantly African peacekeepers with the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC), working chiefly as communications signallers and delivering via the Royal Canadian Air Force humanitarian food shipments and logistical support. The Canadian participation stemmed more from overwhelming public opinion, and not decisive action on the part of the Diefenbaker government, according to historians Norman Hillmer and Jack Granatstein. However, Diefenbaker reportedly refused to comply with numerous public calls for Canada to provide humanitarian relief to 230,000 Congolese famine victims in South Kasai in 1961 ostensibly because “surplus foodstuffs should be distributed to unemployed persons in Canada” as a first priority. Two Canadians died from non-conflict-related causes, and, out of the 33 Canadians injured in the conflict, twelve received “severe beatings” by the Congolese forces. Although Patrice Lumumba dismissed the first incidences of these beatings, on August 18, 1960, as “unimportant” and “blown out of all proportion” in order for the UN to “influence public opinion”, he attributed them a day later to the Armée Nationale Congolaise’s “excess of zeal”. Historians have described these incidents as cases of mistaken identity under chaotic circumstances, in which Canadian personnel were confused by Congolese soldiers with Belgian paratroopers, or mercenaries working for the Katanga secession. Only a quarter of Canada’s signallers extended their six-month tours of duty to a full year, and Canadian forces reportedly found the Congolese to be “illiterate, very volatile, superstitious and easily influenced”, including an instance where a Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel successfully persuaded Kivu Province’s Prime Minister to accept a relief contingent from Malaysia by explaining to him that the Malaysians were capable of diverting bullets in flight away from their intended path. A recent study concluded that while the Canadian government “demonstrated a greater willingness to accommodate the Congolese prime minister Patrice Lumumba than other Western nations” and publicly did not side with either faction, it “[p]rivately […] favoured the more Western oriented [President] Kasavubu”. Canada’s troops earned the trust of Joseph Mobutu, the latter visiting Canada in 1964 as President of Zaire, during which he acknowledged Canada’s support in maintaining his country’s territorial integrity.
Canada established formal diplomatic ties with the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1965, with Ambassador J.C. Gordon Brown taking charge of the Canadian embassy in Léopoldville.
With funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Quebec firm Gauthier, Poulin et Thériault (later Groupe Poulin & Thériault) conducted an inventory of 5.2 million hectares of Zairois forest during 1974–1976. During the 1980s, Canada undertook a detailed inventory of Zaire’s forestry resources with the aim of developing the sector, via the Service Permanent d’Inventaire et d’Aménagement Forestier (SPIAF).
In November 1996, the first deployment of Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), along with 354 Canadian Forces personnel, out of 1,500 originally committed, formed “Operation Assurance”, with its mission to deliver humanitarian services to Rwandan refugees in eastern Zaire, as part of a Canada-led, United Nations-mandated African Great Lakes Multinational Force. Raymond Chrétien, a nephew of the Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who was Canada’s ambassador to the United States and previously in Zaire from 1978 to 1981, was appointed during November and December 1996, the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region; Chrétien’s role was to help defuse the tension in the region, initiate a negotiation process for the repatriation of Rwandan and Burundian refugees in eastern Zaire, and to secure a ceasefire with the leader of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL), Mr. Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Assisted under Canadian Forces Operation LEGATION, Raymond Chrétien consulted with Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko and with the leaders in Rwanda, Burundi, and neighbouring countries. While Chrétien did not meet with Laurent Kabila despite requests from the latter, the Canadian Lieutenant-General Maurice Baril and leader of the multinational force did meet with Kabila in Goma in November 1996, discussing food airlifts for the Rwandan refugees in eastern Zaire. General Baril secured a promise from the AFDL to not fire on humanitarian relief aircraft in return for providing Kabila’s forces with advance notice of these flights, however Baril’s convoy of Joint Task Force 2 personnel was reportedly ambushed en route between Goma and Kigali, and had to be rescued by U.S. Apache and Tomahawk helicopters. Prompted in November 1996 by television images of the refugees, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien reported contacting world leaders to assemble an international military force of 15,000, including Europeans and Americans, under Canadian command, however Chrétien notes that the crisis resolved itself before a Security Council resolution had been obtained. Estimates of the number of Rwandan refugees in the eastern DRC varied widely, from France counting “700,000” to Germany’s “500,000”, Canada’s “300,000 to 500,000”, and the United States NGO, Human Rights Watch, assuming only a few tens of thousands. In mid-December 1996, both Raymond Chrétien and Maurice Baril recommended the withdrawal of the UN peacekeepers, based on evidence of a mass repatriation of the Hutu refugees, and then-assistant deputy foreign minister Paul Heinbecker announced the Government of Canada’s decision to end the mission on December 31. Despite these actions, according to the Belgian journalist Colette Braeckman, a half million Rwandans had in fact migrated further east into the D.R. Congo rather than repatriating. In June 2003, General Maurice Baril served as Special Representative to UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan to mediate with the DRC government in forming a new army, when DRC president Joseph Kabila signed a power-sharing agreement with rival factions.
The journalist and former Médecins sans Frontières (Canadian Branch) communications director during the 1996 Congo/Zaire crisis, Carole Jerome, stated in 2001 that:
Washington had absolutely no desire to go in and stop the carnage wrought by Kabila. Instead it prevailed upon the Canadians to lead this doomed mission, and they were willing dupes. Jean Chrétien had been moved by sights of killings on TV, and genuinely wanted to do something. Wading into this we had the prime minister’s nephew and ambassador to the US, Raymond Chrétien, who was hopelessly unprepared. When he suggested the solution was setting up a hospital in Rwanda, where MSF had been running a hospital for years, one of our doctors moaned, ‘Oh dear, the man does need some work’. Meanwhile, the only ones who actually did want to intervene seriously were the French, just as they had finally done themselves in Rwanda, with Operation Turquoise.
According to Paul Heinbecker, who later became Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, the “Americans, pursuing their own obscure agenda in the Congo, offered much advice but little assistance, and the British, unwilling to play second fiddle to ‘colonials’ and supporting the Americans reflexively, were actively unhelpful […] Canada did not then have the military capacity itself to carry out a major combat operation half a world away”. Other sources document copious evidence that the United States had direct involvement in supporting Laurent Kabila and the AFDL in overthrowing the Mobutu regime. Reflecting in 2008 on his work experiences in Zaire, Raymond Chrétien opined that “Mobutu who was a great African leader but living in a very corrupt environment, a very difficult environment; he was a skilful man at keeping his country together”.
In Vancouver, in June 1997, Mbaka Kawaya, the chair of Congo’s newly appointed Générale des carrières et des mines (Gécamines) led a Congolese delegation that met with Canadian mining companies active in the Congo, including Harambee Mining Corp., International Panorama Resource Corp., and Tenke Mining Corp. In 1998, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade co-sponsored, under the organisation of Joe Clark, a visit by the DRC Minister of Mines, Frederic Kibassa-Maliba, for meetings with mining companies at the PDAC’s annual convention in Toronto. During his Canada mission, Minister Kibassa-Maliba was also scheduled to meet with Canadian NGOs at Montreal offices of the Canadian engineering firm SNC Lavalin, however, this meeting was reportedly canceled by Canada’s Foreign Affairs department following protests made by dozens of representatives from a banned Congolese opposition party, the UDPS (Union for Democracy and Social Progress).
During 1997–1998, former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark was employed by the Vancouver, Canada-based First Quantum Minerals as a political adviser to the newly established Congolese president, Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Clark also co-directed a 58-member election observers team from the Carter Center during the DRC’s 2006 elections. From 1993 to the present, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has been on the board of directors of Barrick Gold Corporation, serving as Chairman of the company’s International Advisory Board, during which time Barrick acquired gold mining concessions in the D.R. Congo in 1996, and relinquished them in 1998. According to Barrick’s chairman, Peter Munk, Mulroney was recruited because “[h]e has great contacts. He knows every dictator in the world on a first name basis”. A third Canadian ex-Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, held meetings with D.R. Congo politicians in Kinshasa during January 2005. Since 2008, former Prime Minister Paul Martin has been co-chair of the Governing Council of the Congo Basin Forest Fund, a multi-donor sustainable and community forestry initiative which was founded to protect the Congo Basin rain forests that are shared by the D.R. Congo and nine other central African nations.
Robert S. Stewart, a Canadian-Swiss dual citizen and graduate of the University of Manitoba who had worked with Canada’s foreign service in Africa for seven years before entering the private sector on African mining and petroleum projects, served as a consultant for the American engineering firm Bechtel International Corporation and drafted Bechtel’s $5 bn. reconstruction plan for the DRC known as “An Approach to National Development. Democratic Republic of Congo”. The Bechtel plan was presented to the Congolese government in November 1997 and centred on natural resource-based partnerships in copper and cobalt, diamonds, tin, gold in the east of the country, along with hydro-electric development, forestry, oil and agriculture elsewhere. The Congolese government rejected the Bechtel proposal, devising its own three-year development plan, which it brought to a World Bank-sponsored “Friends of the Congo” meeting of seventeen countries as well as international institutions in Brussels in December 1997; donors pledged to commit $450m. of the $575m. that the DRC team was requesting from them, out of a total plan budgeted at $1.7bn. Also present at the December 1997 meeting in Brussels were the Canadian-registered mining companies Barrick Gold, America Mineral Fields, Tenke Mining, and International Panorama Resource Corp. In 1997, Stewart also became advisor, and then briefly in 1998, chairman of America Mineral Fields Inc., a company headquartered in Arizona, U.S.A., but incorporated in Canada (renamed Adastra Minerals Inc. in 2004). After the Congolese government’s cancelation of America Mineral Fields’ tender for the Kolwezi copper/cobalt tailings concession in early 1998, Colonel Willy Mallants, a former Belgian advisor to Mobutu and in 1996–97 economic adviser to Laurent Kabila’s Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo, and Robert Stewart announced in Brussels, in May 1998, the establishment of the “Conseil de la République Fédérale Démocratique du Congo”, with Stewart as “Economic, Industrial, Diplomatic and Financial Counsellor to the Council”, with the aim to overthrow President Laurent Kabila within one year’s time. At the Non-Aligned Movement summit in South Africa in September 1998, Stewart was identified as an advisor to the Council of the Federal Democratic Republic of Congo, a group of exiled Congolese technocrats that sought to restore democracy in their country, and Stewart claimed that a relative of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had been granted Stewart’s DRC mining concessions. While Stewart claimed at this meeting that President Kabila had “asked [American Mineral Fields] for bribes”, American Mineral Fields denied this, adding that Stewart was dismissed shortly following his appointment. Stewart in 2008 was director of the South African-based TransAfrican Minerals Ltd., which reported copper, cobalt and gold holdings at the Kipushi Project in the DRC, and in 2009, Stewart was on the board of directors of the British Columbia-based junior company, ICS Copper Systems (now Nubian Resources Ltd.) which holds a stake in the Musoshi Tailings Project.
Since 1999, the Canadian armed forces contingent, dubbed “Operation CROCODILE”, working with the United Nations MONUC peacekeeping force has not exceeded one dozen personnel, with the exception of 2003 when fifty Canadian Forces staff and two Hercules aircraft were deployed at the request of the UN to Bunia. From 1999 to 2008, Canada reportedly provided at least $20m. in support to peacebuilding exercises in the D.R. Congo, including for the 1999 Lusaka accord, the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region, the 2006 elections, and the 2008 Goma Peace Process.
After having its gold properties expropriated by the Congolese government in 1998, Banro Resources successfully sued the DR Congo government in 2000 for $240m., which overturned a previous decision by a Congolese court, and involved the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington, D.C.
Following earlier management of the D.R. Congo’s state-owned mining enterprise Gécamines by the Zimbabwean Billy Rautenbach (1998–2000) and the Belgian mining executive, George Arthur Forrest (1999–2001), the World Bank supported the appointment of Canadian corporate lawyer Paul Fortin as managing director of the parastatal in 2005, where he remained until his resignation in 2009. Fortin’s tenure saw the negotiation of a mining contract originally valued at $6 billion in Katanga Province with Chinese investors, and the Congolese government’s “revisitation” of mining agreements accorded under previous regimes, including ones signed with Canadian mining firms.
From 1960 to 2009, Canada committed a total of US$1.2 billion (constant 2008 dollars) in bilateral (country-to-country) development assistance to the D.R. Congo, of which $0.9 bn. (76%) was actually disbursed. This was a lower disbursement rate than for Canada’s aid to all recipient countries, 87% ($99bn. out of $113 bn.). Although exact multilateral aid figures (to the African Development Bank, International Development Association, various UN agencies, etc.) from donor to recipient countries are not reported, the OECD has imputed these values, and they suggest that a higher proportion of Canadian aid to the DRC has gone through the latter channels than for most donor countries (29% vs. 26%). Total OECD Development Assistance Committee disbursements exceeded commitments by 13% over these five decades mainly because commitment figures were not reported until the year 1966 (and imputed multilateral data began in 1975). Canada reportedly provided US$10,000 in grants to Congo (Kinshasa) in each of the years 1960 and 1964 (approximately 0.1% of the total aid), in addition to financing faculty posts and university bursaries, and providing twelve Canadian technical assistance staff in the field of education. During this period, Adolphe Kasuvubu, a son of President Joseph Kasa-Vubu was a Canadian External Aid scholarship recipient who studied at the University of Ottawa. Although only 7% of total Canadian bilateral aid to the DRC has been in the form of loans, Canada has until recently carried higher tied aid ratios than most OECD DAC members, such that a large portion of the total Canadian aid volume was spent on Canadian goods and services; only in the last decade has the tying status declined, from 75% in 2000, to just 2% in 2009.
From 2000 to 2007, Canada canceled a total of CAN$79.1 m. in bilateral debt owed to it by the D.R. Congo. The above table shows that virtually all of the US$85 m. (constant 2008 US dollars) in loans made by Canada to the DRC occurred during the 1970s and 1980s. Export Development Canada has reported interest income of C$49 million from the Government of Canada relating to debt relief to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
During the period 1995 to 2009, Canada committed a total of US$395m. in constant 2008 dollars, for bilateral official development assistance (ODA) to the D.R. Congo, representing 2.4% of the $16.6bn. commitments to the DRC from all OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors. Canada’s actual aid disbursements were two-thirds of its commitments, with available data for 2002–2009 showing Canada to have provided a total $202m., or 1.4% of total DAC disbursements of $14.7bn. Canadian ODA disbursements to the DRC represented 1.1% of the US$18.7bn. in total Canadian ODA disbursements to developing countries over 2002–09, and DRC aid from Canada was only one-half the contribution level that Canada made among all donors to developing countries, 2.7%.(1)
Canada ranked ninth-highest both in terms of total and per capita (donor nation) ODA disbursements to the DR Congo over 1960–2009, and in terms of ODA per Congolese citizen. In other words, when Canada’s total direct aid to the DRC is divided by the Canadian population in 2009, each Canadian effectively provided $26 to the DRC over the last half-century, and Canada collectively provided $14 for every Congolese citizen, or about one-quarter of a dollar for each of the 66 million Congolese per year. In 2001/2002, the D.R. Congo was the tenth-largest recipient of Canadian bilateral ODA flows, at Cdn$25.2m., in 2004/2005, it was eighteenth (Cdn.$28.3m.), and in 2007/2008 it had fallen to the twenty-fifth position (Cdn$19.1m.). It rose to sixteenth position in 2009/2010 (Cdn.$37.3m.) In earlier decades, the D.R. Congo (Zaire) ranked below twentieth (1960–61), thirteenth (1965–66), below twentieth (1970–71 and 1975–76), eighteenth (1980–81), fifteenth (1985–86), eighteenth (1990–91), and below twentieth (1995–96) in Canadian bilateral assistance. In terms of overall development assistance (country-to-country, multilateral and debt relief), the D.R. Congo ranked fourteenth in 2009/2010 (Cdn.$), in the company of eleven other African nations in the top 20 recipients of Canadian aid that year, and fifth-highest in bilateral humanitarian aid receipts (Cdn.$22.7m.). Nevertheless, when the Canadian government announced in 2009 that it would begin concentrating eighty per cent of its international assistance resources on twenty countries, the D.R. Congo was excluded from the seven African designees. In terms of annual net ODA per capita from all donor nations, Congo/Zaire has gone from receiving 75% greater than the average for all sub-Saharan African nations during the 1960s (eighteenth-highest, US$5.9 in aid per Congolese per year, compared to US$3.8 per sub-Saharan African, current dollars), down to 82% less than the regional average in the 1990s (second-lowest, $6.8/Congolese vs. $28.5/sub-Saharan-African), and recovering to 27% below the average during 2000–2008 (twelfth-lowest, $29.9/Congolese vs. $38.8/sub-SaharanAfrican). The nadir in the 1990s followed the massacre of Lubumbashi student protesters in May 1990, when Belgium, the European Commission, Canada and the United States withdrew all except humanitarian aid to Zaire.(2)
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has reported involvement in 108 projects in the DRC between 1999 and early 2011, in the overlapping sectors of democratic governance (34), emergency assistance (33), private sector development (31), health (26), education (11), environment (10), and peacekeeping (5).
In 2011, the [ Canadian Council for International Co-operation] recorded a total of fourteen Canadian civil society groups as active in the D.R. Congo.(3)
Since 1984, Terre Sans Frontières, headquartered in La Prairie, Quebec, reports that it has delivered CDN$10 m. in aid projects to the Upper-Uele region of northern DRC, focusing on improved access to health, safe drinking water, education, and community economic development. Oxfam-Québec, present in the DRC/Zaire since 1984, in 2008 was collaborating with 16 Congolese counterpart organisations, employing two hundred Congolese nationals and fourteen Canadian volunteers in 27 development projects mainly in Orientale and Kivu provinces. L’Entraide missionnaire, based in Montreal, has participated since 1989 in missionary and development NGO working groups focusing on Democratic Republic of Congo (Table de concertation sur les droits humains au Congo-Kinshasa) and the African Great Lakes regions (Table de concertation sur la région des Grands-Lacs), and has regularly presented evidence on Congolese human rights issues at sessions of the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.(4)
The Quebec-based Fondation Biotechnologie pour le développement durable en Afrique (BDA) is training Congolese farmers in Equateur and Bas-Congo to cultivate and harvest medicinal plants, including the antimalarial-containing margosa and armoise plants.(5)
Of the US$214 million in Canada’s imputed multilateral commitments to the D.R. Congo over 2000–2009, at least one-half (approximately US$103 million) has returned directly to the Canadian economy, in the form of Congolese-related World Bank consultancy and supply contracts to Canadian firms, International Finance Corporation investments in Canadian companies active in the DRC, and one Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency investment to a Canadian firm mining copper in the DRC. CIDA’s annual statistical reports for fiscal years 2000–2001 to 2009–2010 show a total of Cdn.$103.4 m., or US$84.3 m., in multilateral development assistance provided to the D.R. Congo by federal government departments other than CIDA; these funds principally derived from the Department of Finance’s contributions to international financial institutions.(6) Over the same period, CIDA made direct contributions totalling Cdn$14.4m. (US$10.4 m.) to eight D.R. Congo-related projects, for which the executing agency partner was the World Bank or International Monetary Fund, including the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control, and the Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-Combatants.(7) During the 2000s, financial inflows to Canada from World Bank group contracts in the DRC (US$103 m.) exceeded Canada’s World Bank and IMF contributions to the DRC (US$95 m.) by eight per cent.