The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa and is the most populous Francophone country in the world. DRC plays a significant role in regional peace and stability and the development of inter-regional trade in central Africa and the Great Lakes region.
The country is endowed with large natural resources, including minerals (cobalt and copper), hydropower potential, vast arable land, and exceptional biodiversity (home to the second largest tropical forest in the world).
The EU supports the sustainable and inclusive development of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in line with the National Strategic Development Plan (PNSD) and the Global Gateway strategy. The EU’s action builds on the strategic position of the DRC in Central Africa to foster regional peace and stability, preserve biodiversity and sustainably manage natural resources. In February 2023, the EU adopted a renewed EU Great Lakes Strategy to support the transformation of the root causes of regional instability into shared opportunities.
Team Europe in DRC brings together the EU, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Proparco, the Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO) and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).
The EU allocated €424 million grants to the partnership with the DRC for the period 2021-24. The DRC also benefits from regional and global EU programmes.
Our flagship initiatives
- Sustainable critical raw materials
To diversify raw materials supply chains, as well as to develop local value addition and transforming trafficking of mineral resources into legitimate trade, the EU and DRC are setting up a Strategic Partnership on sustainable critical raw materials value chains. EU actionfocuses on the following sectors:
- Integration of sustainable raw materials value chains, including networking, joint development of projects (e.g., through joint ventures), the creation of new business models and the promotion and facilitation of links between trade and investment, support for economic diversification, ensuring the proper functioning, sustainability, and resilience.
- Mobilisation of fundingfor infrastructure required for the development of raw material value chains.
- Sustainable and responsible production, sourcing, and valorisation of critical and strategic raw materials, including through strengthening governance, due diligence and traceability, cooperation in the fight against illegal international trafficking in raw materials and aligning with international ESG standards.
- Research and innovation, knowledge-sharing and technologies related to the exploration, extraction, refining, processing, recovery and sustainable recycling of critical and strategic raw materials, substitution of critical and strategic raw materials, and monitoring of supply risks.
- Capacity building including strengthening training and skills development related to the critical and strategic raw materials value chain.
- extension of the Lobito corridor will enhance the multimodal transport capacity between the Congolese copper belt and the Atlantic coast of the continent (Angolan port of Lobito). The investment will extend the railway tracks into Zambia to finally connect 420 km from Angola, DRC to Zambia by tracks. For DRC this will facilitate trade and transportation contributing to economic growth and region integration.
- Development of the multimodal section from Ubangi crossing to Zongo (border with Central African Republic) to the Lisala river port on the Congo River as part of the Douala-Kampala-Mombasa Corridor.
Support to the renewable energy production aimed at meeting the growing needs of the mining sector and the population and improving the regional electricity distribution between the DRC and Uganda and Zambia.
Support the development of digital infrastructure, including the deployment of a fibre optic cable in Eastern DRC and the construction of GSM antennas in remote areas, as well as systematic support for digitalisation implemented in a variety of sectors, including health, education, public finance, and cybersecurity.
- Biodiversity preservation and agri-business
To foster the agroecological transition and create the conditions for sustainable food sovereignty, the EU’s partnership with DRC focuses on:
- Sustainable management of protected areas: supporting the regeneration and conservation of biodiversity and agroecological systems in particular in 5 NaturAfrica landscapes: Garamba, Salonga, Upemba, Virunga and Yangambi.
- Value chains: support selected value chains such as wheat, maize, cassava, and coffee/plantain banana to create jobs, increase food production and security and expand export opportunities.
- Human development
To improve access to health, foster gender equality and to train young people, the EU’s goals in DRC are:
- Providing more than 11 million Congolese with access to better essential health services, including for mothers and children.
- Strengthening women’s rights and economic empowerment
- Increasing the number of pupils enrolled in school and supporting the improvement of the quality of teaching, including in technical education.
- Governance, peace, and security
To consolidate a peaceful democracy and sustainably increase state resources, the EU’s support focuses on:
- Security, Police and Justice: Structural reform of security services (police and defence) and improved access to justice
- Support for transparent, participatory, and peaceful electoral processes
- Increase and transparency of domestic revenues mobilisation, in particular revenues from the mining sector and improvement of the business climate and attractiveness for foreign investments.