On April 10th, ECI’s Managing Director Dane Erickson spoke on a panel discussion at The Brookings Institution with Michael O’Hanlon on April 10, 2017. The panel discussed current security, political, and economic challenges in DRC, and what potential future scenarios might look like. Below is an excerpt from Brookings on this important panel discussion. To listen to the whole discussion, click here.
Dane Erickson reminded the audience that while elections are the most important issue in Congo right now, even if they were held this year it would not be a panacea for all of the current political, security, and economic challenges facing the country. He stated: “we need to focus on this issue, but it will not solve everything in Congo.” Much of the recent violence has been driven by local grievances exacerbated by uncertainty at the national level; across the country, these events show that security sector reform remains an important issue.
Erickson turned to the economy: Until a slowdown over the past two years, Congo was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, but a drop in world commodity prices hurt the economy. It is one of the poorest countries on earth, which fosters instability. Moreover, a rapid depreciation of the Congolese Franc in the last year has made basic items like food and fuel increasingly expensive for the population, he said.
Concurring, Erickson said that the Trump administration has not yet been particularly engaged in the region, but he hoped that would change. He called on the U.S. leadership to remember that the United States has played an important role in the country and region, warning of the forming vacuum. As the United States pulls back, he said, others are following.