The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
A more stable Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is essential to the security and economic growth for the Great Lakes Region. The DRC has a population of nearly 77 million people and is the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa that borders nine other nations. The DRC has substantial natural resource wealth, including an estimated USD $25 trillion in mineral reserves, yet remains one of the poorest countries in the world, possessing weak governmental institutions and an underdeveloped infrastructure.
Challenges: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) faces political, structural, and socioeconomic challenges, which include inadequate infrastructure, corruption, and a limited capacity to raise and manage national revenues. Ongoing internal and cross-border violence, instability, and the presence of numerous armed groups, particularly in the eastern provinces, slow development efforts.
Goals: INL has provided security sector reform assistance to the DRC since 2008. As the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa with borders connecting to nine other nations, regional stability and security is dependent on durable peace in the DRC. U.S. foreign policy in the DRC is focused on supporting the country to uphold democratic processes and effective governance, promoting stability and peace within the country and with its neighbors, improving security and justice institutions to strengthen state authority across its territory, and developing institutions that are accountable and responsive to the basic needs of its citizens. This commitment was reaffirmed in April 2019 through the U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (PP4PP).
In line with the goals of the PP4PP, current INL programs support law enforcement, justice sector, and anticorruption efforts. Effective civilian law enforcement is essential to building the systems to support stability in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region, by combatting international criminal syndicates financed by mineral, timber, and wildlife trafficking.
Accomplishments: INL supports a law enforcement program in the DRC that focuses on training and building capacity of civilian law enforcement through community policing and mining police training to improve citizen security and increase national stability. INL has supported training for more than 2,000 officers across community, mining, and border police units.
- INL has also provided training for more than 1,129 medical and legal service providers in forensic evidence collection in response to incidents of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and has sponsored legal counseling for 1,823 survivors of SGBV, of which 1,534 cases have been filed with local authorities. These sponsored efforts have resulted in 1,026 trials and 515 convictions.
- INL’s support for the implementation and rollout of a crucial judicial database across Kinshasa and six provinces in eastern DRC has resulted in over 43,000 cases entered into the system.
- Additionally, INL actively supports the Government of DRC’s anticorruption efforts, including the establishment of an independent anticorruption unit to investigate and prosecute corruption-related crimes.