DR Congo

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General Background

Population: 75.5m
Land Area: 2,344,858km sq.
Poverty Ranking: 1*
Main Religions: Christian 70% (Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%); Kimbanguism 10%; Muslim 10%; Others 10%

*The ‘Poverty Rank’ figure reflects the relative poverty of a country, using the most commonly accepted index: per capital GDP (PPP). Click for further info.


Formerly known as Zaire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is the second largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa and has the third largest population. It has considerable mineral resources including gold, diamond and coltan and yet DR Congo is the poorest in the world, not least due to decades of misrule and an extended period of civil war. Ethnic conflict in the country was precipitated by a massive influx, in 1994, of refugees from the fighting in Rwanda and Burundi. Political instability has marked the country to the present day and the civil war has resulted in the deaths of millions through fighting, starvation and disease. Despite the signing of a peace accord in 2003, the conflict continues today, with indiscriminate killing, widespread sexual violence and the destruction of property being commonplace.

CMSI has maintained strong connections with the Church in DR Congo over many years. Our Global Partners there do incredible work, offering rare signs of hope and help in the midst of the most desperate conditions. Of all our partner countries, DR Congo is probably the one in most need of our support and yet, finding parishes and individuals to commit to such a challenging partnership can be difficult.


CMS Ireland engagement with DR Congo
Recent META/Link Parish visits: 2013; 2015
Latest Children’s Resource: Little Lights (2015)