News / Africa

UN, World Bank Say Development is Key to Congo Peace

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim (r) during a press conference with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Goma, eastern Congo,  May 23, 2013.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim (r) during a press conference with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Goma, eastern Congo, May 23, 2013.
Nick Long
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been visiting the war-weary city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), accompanied by the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim.  Both men stressed they see investing in development as the way out of Congo’s conflicts.

The front lines outside Goma were silent on Thursday morning as  Ban and Kim conducted their visit.   The M23 rebels who battled government troops for three days this week had said they did not wish to put the visitors’ lives in danger.

First stop on the visit, after meeting the local authorities, was a hospital where the two men met women who are victims of sexual violence and have been treated there for injuries they suffered.

Speaking to local media, Ban said he had been deeply moved by the stories the women had told him.

"I am every angry that women and girls have to endure such barbarity - here and anywhere. This must stop.  And I am humbled by their courage I told them have a strong courage.  The United Nations stands with you, we will always support you to overcome your wounds," said Ban.
 
The secretary-general spoke of the more than 3,000 additional African troops that the United Nations will be deploying in DRC to fight the many militia and rebel groups active in the east.

He said they would be operational within one to two months and would have a more robust mandate than the 17,000 U.N. peacekeepers already in Congo - but he stressed they were not the whole solution to the conflicts.

"The intervention brigade will address all this violence and will try their best to protect human lives, human rights and human dignity - but you should also know that this is only one element of a much larger process.   I think a peace deal must deliver a peace dividend, health, education, jobs and opportunity," he stressed.

It is the first time that the U.N. secretary-general has conducted a joint mission with the World Bank president and their speeches suggested they see peacekeeping and development as a joint or twin track process in Congo.

The World Bank announced on Wednesday that, besides providing $1.3 billion directly to the DRC, it will be investing another $1 billion in the countries of the Great Lakes region.

Speaking in Goma, Kim said it’s hoped this extra money, to be spent on hydro power projects, cross border trade projects, health and education, will underwrite peace.

"The focus is all these things that we think are at the root of the conflict - lack of energy means the private sector doesn’t invest and there are no jobs, lack of health care and education, lack of trade across borders so that people can run their businesses," said Kim.

Asked if the investment would reach its targets, Kim said the World Bank would follow the money closely.  It would not go directly to the DRC government, he said, but would be followed into project areas, and he added that this approach has worked even in war zones like Afghanistan.
 
The World Bank has been heavily criticized for failing to monitor its spending on demobilization programs in Congo, and for being relatively absent from other areas of development in the east of the country.

Kim stressed the Bank is now ready to fund development without waiting until the guns fall silent.

"What we’re doing is something truly unique in the sense that while the peace framework is in the early stages and while the Intervention Brigade is even not quite here, we are moving aggressively and saying more money needs to go into development in the hopes that that will decrease the likelihood of continuing violence,' he said.

It had been planned for  Ban and Kim to meet some demobilized soldiers during the visit but this was canceled.

The M23 rebels announced a ceasefire just hours before Ban and Kim arrived in Goma.    There had been three days of artillery exchanges this week between the rebels and government forces on the outskirts of Goma.  The government says at least 20 people were killed.

You May Like

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid