Democratic republic of the Congo

#Mots-clés : Dernière mise à jour le 7 June 2019
This page has been translated with Google Translation



It seems that the Congo has been a settlement here at least 200,000 years. Were found carved stones dating from this period in Katanga and Kivu. First village centers are estimated between -3500 and -2000 dated.

In the late Middle Ages, people organize themselves into different chiefdoms. First contact with Europeans grow, giving rise to trade, but also the slave.

The country is a former colony of the Belgian State, from 1885 to 1960, especially following an expedition by Stanley, an explorer. On one side of Belgium wanted to achieve a movement of transition to independence (the first elections in 1957), on the other, the Congolese people craved independence. But this is going to experience the new republic bloody hours, including the murder of his new prime minister, Lumumba.

From 1965 to 1997, the Republic of Congo will be led by a strong General Mobutu Sese Seko. A wind “zaïrisation” will blow over the country: it changes its name, the name of the river, its currency and the names of people and cities are Africanized, wearing Western dress prohibited. General conducts various campaigns and authenticity, among others to maintain its popularity.

In 1996, particularly in the aftermath of the civil war that raged in Rwanda, René Désiré Kabila overthrew Mobutu general. Since then, armed conflicts have developed in the country and people fled their habitat. Appeasement of these conflicts has been observed in recent months, part of the population could return to his home.

Languages spoken in the DRC: French is the official language and four other Bantu languages have the status of national languages: Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili and Tshiluba.

Source: Wikipedia


The country is the second largest country in Africa after Algeria. It extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the east and plateau corresponds to the major part of the Congo River basin. It includes one of the largest areas of rainforest in the world.

It is composed of rainforests, mountains, hills, lakes and volcanoes. The South and the Centre form a plateau rich in minerals.

Source: Wikipedia


The country has a high growth rate (6-7% in 2010-2011). But despite this, the social situation remained precarious. The health situation remains alarming due to a nutritional deficiency substantial and difficult access to drinking water and sanitation. Poverty affects 70.5% of the population in a country that does not have social protection: these people live on less than 1 U $ D per day. About 3 million people live with HIV / AIDS in DRC and age 20-49 years is the most affected, with a female predominance.

Youth employment is a major challenge for the country. Over 70% of 15-24 year olds are unemployed (number 2012). The DRC has not yet true policy for youth employment in the DRC. The lack of employment helps to expand the informal sector and weak management structures led many young people to crime.

In recent years (2006 – 2011), there has been a decrease in the GDP of the primary sector (agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting) in favor of mining and extraction. With the falling prices of certain minerals, there is a compensatory increase in the quantity produced.

The Government is trying in various ways to fight against inflationary trends manifested in recent years. If one side external debt reduces over time and became very weak since 2010, domestic debt is increasing, especially after the deduction of arrears.

Source : Publication “Perspectives économiques en Afrique – RDC.


Ethnic tensions and inequitable access to land led to conflict (North and North-Eastern DRC), which has displaced more than 2 million people within the country. Some people have even crossed the border to seek refuge in neighboring countries, Uganda and Rwanda. Of SGBV are recognized by the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) found that more refugees are victims of these crimes and often the perpetrators are not prosecuted. Source : HCR


Many children roam the streets, including Kinshasa, the consequences of poverty and the collapse of the Congolese economy in a country where the social system is nonexistent. Parents are no longer able to provide for their children. But in this context, accusations of witchcraft are banished to the child will allow the family to survive the difficulties of everyday life. Some people are of course convinced that these children are truly “witches”. Anyway, the result is that these children live in the streets, fertile ground for all kinds of offenses, which leads them to commit acts of violence against civilians. Source : mé


According to the publication “African Economic Outlook 2012” by AfDB, OECD, UNDP and ECA housing knows an annual deficit estimated at 3 million units! Source: Publication “Perspectives économiques en Afrique – RDC”


A paper on the history of cities in the DRC (origin, history, area, population, wealth, socio-economic, …) is made by MONUSCO.


“With a population comparable to that of France, Italy or the United Kingdom and an urbanization rate of nearly 40% in 2010, the Democratic Republic of Congo has become a powerful and comprehensive urban network, from the capital Kinshasa , which is the third largest city in sub-Saharan Africa to the small towns that bring all this vast territory.

“The DRC stands:

  • by the remarkable development of cities “intermediate”, which are generally lacking in other African countries.
  • their tremendous growth in the twentieth century, because no of them exceeded 10,000 in 1910
  • by the peripheral location of most urban areas, the country holds a record number of cross-border agglomerations with almost all its neighbors and the four cardinal points. ”(1)



Since 2005, the right to housing is in the DRC in Article 48 of the Constitution:

The right to adequate housing, the right of access to drinking water and electricity are guaranteed. The law establishes the procedures for the exercise of these rights.

Text of the Constitution: Constitution DRC


Following tensions in the DRC, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees counted and counted a large number of refugees or displaced persons. Video traces the forced exodus and resettlement of displaced populations: Website UNHCR.


The ownership of land is, in the best case, reliability relative. In Kinshasa, for example, the proportion of housing plots fitted with title proper form is 30%. The land titles could still be contested, and individual property is never fully guaranteed. It is therefore understandable that 70% of the judgments rendered by the courts of the DRC deal with land disputes.

Since the Land Act in July 1973, however, the soil is the exclusive property and inalienable state. He initiated all subdivisions and only distributes perpetual concessions for national and foreign temporary. Private ownership is exerted on the frame. In practice, the distribution system leaders earth is the only one that works.

Some individuals are then endorse their acquisitions by the Department of Land Affairs with the granting of the certificate of registration. This is the only title away from any challenge, without which there is no mortgage possible or real security and therefore no mortgage required for the development of the housing sector. The absence of clear title and the lack of rights of tenure are combined with poor land administration to hinder the expansion of investment in the housing sector.

The conversion of land titles and cadastral mapping are part of the Government’s concerns DRC.

Source : ”Document de programme-pays 2008-2009 ; République Démocratique du Congo”, UN Habitat.


In recent years, we find that the acquisition of large-scale land is increasing rapidly. Indeed, the new DRC reconstruction policy pushes to open to the world and so, therefore, also to foreign investments on the ground. Currently, many companies and their subsidiaries, as well as private investors settle for use in various industries: mining, timber harvesting or agroalimentaire4 are the most popular. If these foreign investments bring more to the economy – by the transfer of capital allocated in the projects, job creation, etc-, the main goal is undeniably in capitalist perspective, the increase profits and maximizing profits.

  1. On the one hand, land legislative framework of the DRC, defined by a series of successive pieces of legislation, including the most critical are those of 1966, 1971, 1973 and 1980 does not seem the most appropriate to protect the interests of local population. These texts were indeed ‘said the increasingly prominent state ownership on land, while ensuring security of land rights sold to persons (natural or legal) form of concessions more or less lasting or even perpetual. ” As we see, this unclear legislation on procedures for allocation and land acquisition, leaves the door open to all kinds of violations of public and individual interests.
  2. Secondly, concerning the referendum, the case of the management of arable land by the Congolese state is a good illustration of the fact that the expectations or needs of Congolese farmers are rarely part of the agreements between the state and investors. Indeed, the arable land, very popular, are assigned to foreign companies or private investors and wealthy, even though they are in fact often been exploited by local people who live. In the selling, the Congolese state violates some of the fundamental rights of rural people: the right to control the land they are owners and the right to food.

China is one of the biggest investors in the DRC, as part of an area of bi-lateral cooperation in place.



  • Informal estate agents

Many large cities include estate agents who operate mostly in the informal sector, by no means to fulfill their mission. This is an office or a person likely to learn about the vacancy of a home or property. This is a form of bargaining between the informant and the prospective tenant or owner must pay a “right of access” to the information. This kind of information flows within a network of agents who are spread percentage (10%) of the rental guarantee or sale. Most of these agencies are informal even if there is formal.

  • Social production pathway habitat

There is no organized in DRC die for housing production. This is left to the initiative of individual households is achieved through “self-construction”. But these initiatives will result in the creation of insanitary slums and precarious, despite a significant shortage (estimated at 2.4 million units in 2010). This is explained by the geographic expansion, the rural exodus, the deterioration of the national economy and the disorganization of the administrative apparatus. A survey conducted in 1986 showed that 81% of households said they were dissatisfied with their housing.

Source: UN Habitat, op. cit.

Social and economic aspects



Conditions of overcrowding, insecure tenure and unsanitary

OVERCROWDING: A household Congolese approximately 6 people. Across the country, households have an average of three pieces for residential use. The number of bedrooms is two, but 41% of households do not have one. This is why we can say that there is a high level of promiscuity housing, both in rural and urban areas. In urban areas, the situation has deteriorated in recent years, the proportion of dwellings with one room having increased between 1995 and 2001.

INSECURITY LAND TENURE: The state policy is characterized by enormous institutional and regulatory deficiencies. This explains the frequency of “démorcellement” plots and uncontrolled construction favored by the authorities of urbanism and housing and land titles that can distribute and break up plots without compliance.

UNWHOLESOMENESS: The mode of urbanization constructions often causes uncontrolled and unsustainable materials in areas not surveyed and sometimes lacking basic sanitation. Lack of adequate sanitation and access to drinking water is also a lack of garbage. Thus, waste is thrown pell-mell into the paths of some neighborhoods. In rural areas, three-quarters of households resort to unprotected water sources and surface waters.

Source : “Problématique de la promiscuité de logement et son impact sur la population du quartier mapendo dans la ville de Goma en RDC” par Emmanuel Kymusoke Boaruzima, licencié en santé publique, 2009.



Cultural aspects – Religious – Symbolic

Environmental aspects

Bibliography & Sitography

  1. Country file Congo DRC on the website e-Geopolis
  2. Etienne Tchamulubanda, Commission Justice et Paix belge francophone asbl, « Accaparement des terres en RDCongo et la protection des droits des collectivités locales », 2011, pp 4.




  • PORTAL OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN DRC to find associations of civil society, especially in relation to habitat. But other topics are also available: agriculture, community development, savings and credit, peace and democracy, etc.. Société civile Habitat.
  • GRET DRC = nonprofit organization that works in international network brings together professionals and Cooperative Development. In the DRC, they carry out actions among other governance issues: implementation capacity of actors – media use. Representation in the DRC: Site Internet Contact Them.