In the cold-war era, Africa became the battleground for super-power rivalry and many of the ills facing the continent can be traced to this period. It is only now that the developed world has woken up to the magnitude of the crisis engulfing Africa prompting the Tony Blair sponsored 'Commission for Africa' to note, " African poverty and stagnation is the greatest tragedy of our time," (Commission for Africa 2005, p 13).
There are some who question why the world should be so concerned about poverty and why the world community should contribute to Africa's development when the same resources can be used domestically to improve the living standards of their own people. The answer is simple. Because Africa, where one child dies every second is a blot on our collective conscience. Prime Minister Tony Blair has spoken of "recognising the common bond of humanity", as has Bob Geldof, the social activist, musician and brain behind the Live8 concert, "to extend the hand of sympathy and shared humanity to reach above the impenetrable roar and touch human beings on the other side (Commission for Africa 2005, p 66). To that extent the objectives of both Prime Minister Tony Blair and Live8 organiser, Bob Geldof seem to match.
There is also another factor; self-interest. ...
When such countries are themselves embroiled in conflict, as in the case of the DRC, where government control does not extend to the whole of the country, the situation is even more critical. Prime Minister Tony Blair also acknowledges this fact when he says it is imperative that, ".we act on the long-term problems that can give rise to issues of terrorism and security" and that "we're going to store up a lot of problems for ourselves in the future" (Time 11 July 2005, p 4).
The 31st G8 summit and the Live8 concerts timed to precede the summit focussed attention on the plight of Africa. Just how much the Live8 concerts affected the outcome of the G8 summit is a moot point, since the actual details of the announcement made at the summit had been worked out earlier. Also debatable is how much the G8 summit itself has contributed to alleviate the sufferings of the African multitudes, considering that the aid comes with strings attached and that the root causes of poverty, namely trade subsidies and tariffs, are not being addressed by the developed world.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Situated almost at the centre of Africa, the DRC is the only country in the continent that has nine neighbours, and is the largest country in the Congo basin. Sparsely populated, the DRC is a fertile country, rich in natural resources and mineral wealth. Despite its vast potential, the country remains one of the poorest in the region on account of, "decades of economic mismanagement, corruption, lack of investment in infrastructure and widespread insecurity caused by political conflicts" (Sold Down the River).
The DRC has a long history of conflict, right from colonial times. After independence in 1960, it fared no better, witnessing two