The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has hovered low on governance-related indices for many years. In 2010, the country scored 2.0 out of a best possible 10 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index and ranked 182nd out of 183 in the World Bank’s Doing Business index [1]. The reasons behind these poor governance ratings are many and have their roots in the country’s historic experience of political instability and uncertainty. Recent initiatives are attempting to improve the DRC’s governance, including the Strategic Plan for Public Finance Reform and the Initiative to Improve the Investment Climate. Moreover, in December 2009, a National Forum on the Fight against Corruption was held in Kinshasa. Promoting governance reform in the DRC is, however, restricted by severe infrastructural challenges, inadequate data collection and poor capacity within the public service.  Today, the largest concentration of official development assistance to the DRC is targeted towards the “good governance” agenda. Public finance management reform with support from the IMF and World Bank is ongoing, while the UNDP is supporting a USD 390 million governance programme that will run through 2012. Despite substantial donor investments, there is evidence that programmes focused on state-building in the DRC have to date delivered few results [2]. Given the challenges for donor engagement - that may at least in part be explained by the fact that state-building is a long-term process -  this seminar provided a forum for strategic discussion among British embassy staff (DFID and Foreign and Commonwealth Office) with regard to the United Kingdom’s goals for engagement on governance in the country, with particular reference to anti-corruption.

[2] Kamitatu Etsu, O. 2010. ”Rapport Pays 3: République Démocratique du Congo, Suivi des Principes d’engagement international dans les états fragile et les situations précaires. OECD.