Making a living in the Democratic Republic of Congo
“Money makes the world go round! “We’ve all heard some version of this saying at some point and time in our lives. Even though some debate can be had on the extent to which money truly “makes the world go round,” there’s no doubt as to whether one’s financial status crucially impacts many other aspects of their life including their health, the social groups they are accepted into, and other social indicators that contribute to overall quality of life. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, like in many other African nations, a history of political, social, and economic instability has significantly contributed to the underdevelopment of financial institutions which have been inaccessible to the vast majority of the population. In a world that is increasingly driven by globalization, automation and technology, most Congolese have not experienced financial inclusion. As a result, most Congolese have not benefited from the major national and international institutions best positioned to bring them into the fold in having access to the resources that have been so instrumental in alleviating poverty and creating wealth for so many people in all parts of the world.
The history of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been plagued with war, unaccountable governance, and corruption. While the nation has a wealth of natural resources including cobalt, copper, oil, diamonds, and gold among a myriad of other resources, capable of enriching the general population of the Congo, poor governance and prevalence of armed conflict have made it difficult for businesses to operate and succeed. Because of the insecurity created by the constant conflict and political corruption, Congolese entrepreneurs have lacked the structural support to thrive, and potential international investors have been repelled. Not surprisingly, the prospect of the average Congolese finding a good paying job is very small as a result of an underdeveloped business sector.
How do Most Congolese People Make a Living.
By far, Agriculture is the predominant sector in which the majority of Congolese people make a living. According to The World Bank statistics, around 70 percent of all Congolese make a living in this sector as of 2020 with the next largest employment sector being the Services sector which accounts for about 20 percent of the population. When one considers the fact that nearly 70 percent of the Congolese population also resides in rural areas as opposed to the large urban cities, it comes as no surprise then that the agricultural sector is the primary means of income for most Congolese. Furthermore, when one analyzes the status of the agricultural sector in the Congo, data shows that the primary level on which the majority of Congolese people participate in the sector is on the subsistence level. This means that most Congolese people are living in rural areas and essentially farming primarily at the level of sustaining and providing for themselves and their families as opposed to large-scale commercial farming and production.
Geography of the DRC
The DRC possesses a geographical potential to become an agricultural production leader on the international level. With its “80 million hectares of arable land (land capable of being used to grow crops), 4 million hectares or irrigated land, and many rivers with important fishery resources” as the US International Trade Administration states, its potential to be a leading agricultural producer will only continue to become more and more valuable considering the fact that in much of the world, arable land is being lost at alarming rates. Even though about 20 percent of the country’s GDP comes from agriculture, proper management of the industry promises to yield substantially greater revenue as well as providing significantly more sustainable employment for the Congolese people.
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