Much is at stake as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) prepares for a pivotal round of national elections on November 28. While violence and security issues have marred the country’s recent history, multi-party elections in 2006 produced democratic gains and this round of elections may push the DRC even closer to becoming a vibrant democracy. However, questions remain as to how the elections will affect the country’s major challenges, including a rapidly growing population, low job growth, and the lingering threat of authoritarianism.
On October 14, Foreign Policy and the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings hosted a discussion on the current situation in the DRC featuring a keynote address from Maria Otero, under secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Following Otero’s remarks, a panel examined the elections and broader efforts to stabilize the country. Panelists included Mvemba Dizolele and Anthony Gambino, authors of a recent Eastern Congo Initiative Report titled, "Technical Issues Threaten Free, Fair, and Transparent Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo." They were joined by Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow John Mukum Mbaku. Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, director of research for Foreign Policy, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.
After the program, the participants took audience questions.