Essay on The Congo Crisis: an International Perspective

6240 Words Dec 19th, 2010 25 Pages
The Congo Crisis: An International Perspective There is a need to take advantage of the change that has taken place in the Congo, however tragic that has been in its coming. – Paul Kagame As the third largest country in Africa and blessed with a large endowment of natural resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo possesses great opportunity to develop itself into a successful nation. However, the great abuses of the Congo’s colonial rulers and the lack of central unity across its vast territory left the nascent republic to be taken advantage of by various forces, both inside and outside the country. From the first colonization of the area under King Léopold’s reign of terror as his personal colonial venture, to the Belgians …show more content…
The Belgian’s labor practices were quite preferable to previous treatment under Léopold’s mercenaries; however, forced labor and violent tactics existed until independence in 1960. The Belgian’s did make investments into developing the Congo’s infrastructure, especially in the 1920s and 1950s, though these developments were entirely focused on economic development to support European corporations and business interests. While Congolese exports soared, an extensive plantation system became an economic base of the colony along with the forced resettlement of tens of thousands of native workers to Katanga province’s copper belt. After the First World War, the colonial administrators instituted mandatory farming of cash crops, such as coffee, cotton and palm oil, which was despised by native Congolese farmers who faced sanctions if they did not meet the quotas. The Congo’s export-dependent economy was hit hard by the Great Depression and the associated fall in demand for the colony’s mineral exports. Similarly, the Belgian Congo was exploited for its material resources in the Second World War, serving as the Allies main source of rubber and uranium throughout the war and early Cold War period. In fact, the uranium used in the atomic bombs dropped

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