Congo Season: Media Talk – Demystifying the Congo

Talk Tuesday 6th May, 2008

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has witnessed one of the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crises, where as many as 5.4 million people may have died since 1998. We discuss why this country is beset by so many problems and if there are any forseeable solutions for it.

Although the country has now emerged from what has been called “Africa’s first world war”, credible mortality studies estimate that over 1,000 people continue to die each day from conflict-related causes, mostly disease and malnutrition but ongoing violence as well.

The country is also beset by rampant corruption within the transitional government, and pervasive state weaknesses have created an atmosphere in which both members of the national army as well as members of armed groups frequently perpetrate abuses against civilians.

At the same time the country is believed to be one of the world’s richest countries in terms of raw materials.

Moderated by Michela Wrong – columnist and author

Marcus Bleasdale – has spent eight years covering the brutal conflict within the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the work was published in his book One Hundred Years of Darkness. He is widely published in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Dino Mahtani – Former Reuters correspondent, previously based in DRC, and former west and central Africa correspondent for the Financial Times.

Mulegwa Zihindula – spokesman for Kabila during 2002-2004. Now based in London, he is doing a Masters at SOAS.

Moderated by Michela Wrong who is a columnist for the New Statesman and author of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo.