Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham writes for The Hill on challenges facing the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

By every right, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) ought to be one of the richest countries in the world. The Belgian geologist René Jules Cornet, whose work in the 1890s uncovered the Congo’s immense mineral reserves — currently valued by some estimates at more than $24 trillion and including 70 percent of the world’s coltan, 30 percent of its diamond reserves, as well as vast amounts of cobalt, copper, gold and many other sought-after primary commodities — dubbed the territory a “veritable geological scandal.” The real scandal, however, is that this treasure has yet to better the lives of the people of Africa’s second-largest and fourth-most populous country. To the contrary, the most recent edition of the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index ranked the lush, mineral-rich DRC at the absolute bottom of the 187 countries and territories included in the survey (tying landlocked, mostly desert Niger for last place), while the Fund for Peace’s 2013 Failed States Index put the country in 177th place out of 178 countries (just a notch above long-collapsed Somalia).

Read the full article here.

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