Eight out of 10 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) live in extreme poverty, the United Nations Development Progamme (UNDP) said on Tuesday.
“The survey data of the National Institute of Statistics show that poverty severely affects women and young people,” UNDP DRC representative Priya Gajraj was quoted by Radio Okapi as saying in the capital Kinshasa.
Gajraj was speaking on the sidelines of an event commemorating the annual International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 16).
Overall, about 70% of DRC people live below the poverty line, according to UNDP 2015 figures, 7% up from the UN 2014 figures.
The DRC is rich in natural resources, but its people are said to be among the world’s poorest. Millions of Congolese had gone into forced exile abroad to escape hunger, unemployment, misery, dictatorship and political intolerance.
Experts believe massive state corruption, economic mismanagement, lack of government accountability and financial transparency, and dictatorship, unending armed conflicts, among others, are to blame for this unfortunate situation.
Besides, the lack of freedom of expression and media liberties seem to have worsened the problem, as all forms of criticism of the state’s policy failure may lead to lengthy jail terms, torture and sometimes death.
Photo: Women and children flee fighting in eastern DRC in May 2012. credit: IRIN