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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid