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The Least Developed Countries a Case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Term Paper Sample)


Choose a least developed country and write a paper that describes the specific ways in which this particular country is less developed. The paper should include:
a) the name of the country,
b) when it became independent, 
c) its location--provide a map and size--compare its size to that of a U.S. state, 
d) indicate the specific ways in which this country is less developed including but not limited to literacy levels, education, health, life expectancy, standard of living. political unrest or turmoil, infrastructure, agricultural and industrial output, trade imbalance, climate, topography, etc.,
e) efforts made to help the country, 
f) what assistance has worked or not worked, 
g) future prospects of the country.
This sample is about the situation in least developed countries and how developed countries assist them to attain economic stability/prosperity.


Course Title and Code
Instructor’s Name
The United Nations (UN) defines a least developed country (LDC) as one with the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development. The low levels of socio-economic development are characterized by low and unequal distribution of income, weak institutional and human capacities, and an acute inadequacy of domestic financial resources. The idea of LDCs first came up in the 1960s with the first batch of LDCs being listed in the UN’s 2768 (XXVI) resolution of 1971. A country qualifies to the LDC group when it meets three criteria: poverty (adjustable criterion: average GNI per capita of less than US $992 for three years); human resource weakness (as per indicators of health, nutrition, education and adult literacy); and, economic vulnerability (based on agricultural instability, exports instability, economic value of non-traditional activities, merchandise export concentration, and the displaced populations rate by natural disasters). Every three years, the LDC criteria are reviewed by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Countries graduate from the LDC list once the indicators exceed these criteria. The current LDCs list has 48 countries on it (South Sudan being the newest entry); Africa has 34, Asia and the Pacific have 13, and 1 in Latin America. This paper presents an overview of the Democratic Republic of Congo and describes the specific ways in which this particular country is less developed.[About LDCs. The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States. Available at] [See Official Records of the General Assembly, 26th Session, Supplement No. 14(A/8414). Available at ] [UN-OHRLLS. The Criteria for the identification of the LDCs. LDC Data Retrieval Available at ] [Ibid.]
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (or République démocratique du Congo in French), also known as DRC, DR Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, Congo, DROC or RDC, is an African country located in Central Africa. The DRC was previously known as Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville), Republic of Zaire and Democratic Republic of the Congo (in chronological order). It shares a common border with the Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania to the East; the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and Angola and Zambia to the south. DRC is the second largest African country by area and the world’s eleventh largest. With over 75 million people, DRC is the fourth most populous country in Africa. It is also the most populous Francophone nation and the nineteenth most populous nation in the world. DRC attained its independence from Belgium in 1960 under the name Republic of the Congo (République du Congo in French). Just after independence, secessionist struggles in DRC’s new provinces against the new leadership led to the flight over 100,000 Europeans who had remained behind and pave way for the Congolese replacement of the European military and administrative elite. In as much as its name was changed to be the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the change was and has since been not put into practice.[Central Intelligence Agency."Congo, Democratic Republic of the". Available at /library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html.] [Nzongola-Ntalaja, Georges From Zaire to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.]
DRC as Compared to the US State of Texas
Texas is America’s second largest state, covering 258,000 square miles (696,241 km²). However, Texas is only 0.3 times as big as DRC whose size is about 2,344,858 km². Texas would have been the 40th largest state in the world (behind Chile and Zambia) if at all it were an independent country. Population wise, Texas had a population of over 26.4 million residents in 2013. This is as compared to DRC whose population the UN estimated to be 66 million people in 2009; a sharp rise from the 1992 estimate of 39.1 million people and despite the ongoing war. Texas is the leading emitter of greenhouse gases in the US caused by the many coal power plants, and refining and manufacturing industries found within the state. Its gross state product (GSP) as of 2010 was $1.207 trillion; comparable to India’s or Canada’s GDP, which are 12th and 11th largest economies in the world respectively. As such, Texas boasts of the fourth-largest economy of any country subdivision worldwide; with an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent as at April 2013. All these are clear indicators of the great milestones that Texas has achieved in development. This is a sharp contrast to DRC which remains fragile with tremendous needs in terms of economic growth, reconstruction and weak institutions –all these despite its 80 million hectares of arable land and over 1,100 minerals and precious metals.[U.S. Census Bureau. "U.S. Census Bureau Announces 2010 Census Population Counts – Apportionment Counts Delivered to President". Press Release.] [Ibid.] [UNdata. "Democratic Republic of the Congo".] [Library of Congress Country Studies. "Zaire – Population".] ["GDP by State". Greyhill Advisors. Retrieved October 30, 2014. 2011.] [UNdata. Democratic Republic of the Congo.]
Indicators of DRC’s Under-development
Education and Literacy Levels Between 2000 and 2004, UNESCO gave an illiteracy rate of 34.7 % among the DRC adult population aged 15 years and above. The rate for men over the same period amounted to 20.2 %, as compared to 48.1 % among the women, producing a parity index of 0.65. Campaigns with young people and adults to fight illiteracy have been highly neglected in the DRC. As such, the fight against illiteracy largely relies (if not entirely) on prevention through primary education. However, current primary education is both quantitatively and qualitatively ineffective, and thus, the proportion of illiterates in the general population is anticipated to rise in future. This situation is further compounded by non-enrolment and school drop-out. The net rate of enrolment in primary education in 2001 was 17 %, while the retention rate in fifth grade was 25 %. Thus, with 100 six year old Congolese children and an enrolment rate of 17 %, 83 of them will not access primary education. Moreover, with a high drop-out rate (about 75 % over the first four years of schooling), only 4 out of the 17 children entering school are expected to reach primary grade 5 without repeating a year. Thus, only 4 out of 100 Congolese children are poised to escape from illiteracy, while the rest are in danger of remaining illiterate into adulthood. Conclusively, the kind of literacy that should be given to the Congolese people should be consciousness-raising to allow them to develop critical awareness. Consequently, this will enable them to dismantle the status quo to realize a more humanizing new order.[UNESCO. EFA Global Monitoring Report 2006 .] [Ibid.]
Health, Life Expectancy There is an extremely high infant mortality rate of 19% in the DRC. In 2010, the maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births was 670, compared to 533.6 in 2008 and 550 in 1990. Children under 5 have a mortality rate of 199 per 1,000 births where there are only 2 midwives per 1,000 live births. Additionally, the risk of death for pregnant women is 1 in 24. According to the CIA, the average life expectancy in DRC as at 2014 stands at 56 years and is one of the lowest in the world. This is mostly attributed to HIV/AIDS which affects most of the DRC people. Many children are also affected given that about 930,000 children are currently orphaned by the disease. Orphaned or affected children have been left to the streets, further increasing the spread of AIDS. Several factors promote the spread of HIV in DRC, including high soldier and refugee traffic, inadequate and expensive safe blood transfusions in rural areas, lack of counseling and scarce HIV testing sites, many cases of untreated sexually transmitted infections among commercial sex workers and their clients, and insufficient condoms outside key towns. Moreover, the access to vaccinations and care remain problematic due to poor funding of health facilities and a low public awareness. As such, cases of polio, cholera, typhoid and tuberculosis in DRC have been on the rise as result of these deficiencies. The recent outbreaks of the Ebola virus and hemorrhagic fever in the DRC and its surrounding regions have further aggravated the situation posing serious health concerns in the already crippled health care system.[CIA. The World Fact Book. 2014.] [Humanium. Children of Democratic Republic of the Congo: Realizing Children’s Rights in Democratic Republic of the Congo. 2014.] [Ibid.]
Standard of Living Living standards are measured by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita expressed in constant international dollars and converted using purchasing power parity (PPP) rates. The HDI is a brief measure for evaluating long term progress in three basic human development areas: long and healthy life, access to education and a decent living standard. DRC’s HDI value for 2012 was 0.304 in the low hum...
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