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DR Congo to shun Geneva donors meet, says UN overreacted

Prime Minister Jose Makila

Kinshasa, DR Congo | AFP | The Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday said it was shunning a donor conference in Geneva next month aimed at raising $1.7 billion to tackle what the United Nations has called a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

Prime Minister Jose Makila said the UN had overreacted and that aid bodies and NGOs in the country were propagating a “bad image of DR Congo throughout the world”.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo declines to participate in the Geneva conference” on April 13, he said.

The United Nations has declared the humanitarian crisis in the DR Congo to be a Level 3, the UN’s highest-level emergency.

“While recognising that the country is facing an emergency situation … the activation of the top-level humanitarian emergency acts as a brake” for development and discourages investors, Makila said.

At least 13.1 million Congolese are in need of humanitarian aid, including 7.7 million who are severely food insecure, the UN Security Council said Thursday in a unanimous statement.

The humanitarian crisis has been compounded by a doubling over the past year of the number of Congolese fleeing violence in the country who now total close to 4.4 million

Kinshasa authorities have set a date of December 23 to hold historic elections but it remains unclear whether President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, will step aside to allow a transition.

UN officials fear the country could slide into all-out violence as the countdown to the elections begin.

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