Reaching out to the world with God's amazing grace

Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) gained its independence in 1960. After years of political and social instability, Colonel Joseph Mobutu, in a 1965 coup, seized power and declared himself president. He subsequently changed his name to Mobutu Sese Seko as well as that of the country to Zaire. Mobutu retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through the use of brutal force. In 1994, a rebellion headed by Laurent Kabila engulfed the country in a civil war, which led in May 1997 to the toppling of the Mobutu regime. Kabila renamed the country the DRC.  

In August 1998, Kabila’s regime was challenged by an insurrection backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support Kabila’s regime. A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 by the DRC, Congolese armed rebel groups, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. However, sporadic fighting continued.

Laurent Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 and his son, Joseph Kabila, was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying eastern Congo. Two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity.

A transitional government was set up in July 2003. Joseph Kabila as president and four vice presidents represented the former government, former rebel groups, and the political opposition. The transitional government held successful elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures in 2006. Kabila was inaugurated president in December 2006. The National Assembly was installed in September 2006, elected governors and national senators in January 2007, and the provincial assemblies in early 2007.

One of the poorest countries in Africa, where the average annual income is $110, the DRC also ranks poorly in education, with only one in 10 students ever making it to high-school.