Democratic Republic of the Congo
Last updated in August 2016
Germany established diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 30 June 1960, immediately after the country gained independence. Since the end of the Congo Wars in 2002 and the beginning of the transition phase (2002-2006), Germany has made an important contribution to the country’s political and economic reconstruction process, together with its European partners and the international community.
The Federal Armed Forces helped to secure the 2006 presidential and parliamentary elections and provided some 800 troops, roughly half of the European EUFOR Mission force. Germany also contributed to the command of the mission.
President Joseph Kabila visited Germany twice, in 2002 and 2004. Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Niebel visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo in January 2010. In February 2015, Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier travelled to Kinshasa and Goma accompanied by an 80-member delegation. Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Müller visited Kinshasa in March 2015.
There are also lively contacts between the two countries at federal state and local government level as well as informal ties through humanitarian and church-affiliated organisations.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is an important partner of German development cooperation and Germany’s biggest recipient of aid in Africa. At the intergovernmental negotiations held in Berlin in 2015, the Federal Government pledged EUR 153.4 million for continuing bilateral development cooperation over the next two years.
Priority areas of German development cooperation with the country are:
- management of natural resources (environment/forestry and mineral raw materials)
- drinking water supply and sanitation
- sustainable economic development
Germany and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have also agreed to expand their cooperation on protecting tropical forests. In addition to providing EUR 39 million to continue the biodiversity and forest-protection programme, Germany is making available EUR 10 million for a new reforestation project.
Germany is also providing EUR 20 million to finance a peacebuilding fund to stabilise the situation in Eastern Congo as well as EUR 15 million for projects to reintegrate internally displaced persons there.
Germany provides humanitarian and development-oriented structural and transitional aid on a substantial scale as well as support for conflict management, crisis prevention and peacekeeping.
Economic relations between Germany and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are modest.
In 2015, Germany exported to Congo goods worth EUR 149 million, mainly motor vehicles, machinery and electronic goods, putting Congo in 115th place among buyers of German exports. Germany imported from Congo goods worth EUR 81 million, mainly copper, putting Congo in 107th place among suppliers of German imports.
There are only a few German companies active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement has been in place since 1969.
In higher education, Germany awards postgraduate scholarships and hosts research stays by scientists and academics from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Kinshasa, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) funds a centre of excellence in microfinance (Centre Germano-congolaise de la Microfinance) that is jointly run by the Université Protestante au Congo and the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Other initiatives, like a scholarship programme supervised by the University of Würzburg, promote academic exchange between the two countries.
Numerous private cooperation projects are an important element in bilateral cultural relations. Particular mention should be made here of the cooperation between the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, which is funded by the Federal Foreign Office.
The Goethe Institute has run a liaison office in Kinshasa since 2015. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Hanns Seidel Foundation have their own offices in Kinshasa.