The Economist Magazine has an interesting piece on DRC - well worth the read. Its difficult to remain optimistic about the DRC. We know that countries of this size, virtually land locked and full of mineral resources are probably destined for perpetual underdevelopment - but the mining companies and the politicians appear not to be helping :
Some good initiatives have been launched. The government has persuaded some opposition politicians who boycotted political institutions after the post-election fighting to return. Legislators promise to keep spending in check by reviewing it every three months. Those who want to run state bodies will now be tested by officials on some basic skills, not just their political connections. Logging and mining contracts worth billions of dollars will apparently be reviewed.
But there is no sign that the country's vast mineral resources will benefit more than a lucky handful. Few of the taxes that are paid actually go into the state coffers. A Western diplomat estimates that direct benefits to the state from mining totalled a paltry $32m last year, though Congo-based copper-mining companies alone have made hundreds of millions on stock markets in recent months.
Parliament has adopted a budget for 2007, albeit more than six months into the year. But the government may struggle to lure back donors after mismanagement led to the suspension of many lending programmes agreed on last year. The budget this year, for a country of 60m-odd people, is a meagre $2.4 billion.