The gathering of 15-country Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and some of DR Congo's neighbours at a Pretoria summit to discuss peace in DR Congo and a declaration by M23 rebels to end their 20-month rebellion is welcome news. This comes in the wake of a 3,000-strong UN intervention brigade in eastern DR Congo drawn from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania that is backing other 17,000 peacekeepers to help quell rebellions in the region.
Hopefully, the leaders will carry out a sober internal and external soul-searching to enable this natural resource rich African nation get on its feet. For the last 13 years, the developed world's quest to power its electronic and military industry has not found it despicable to unleash terror on innocent women and children in collaboration with a section of rulers and warlords in Africa. This has cost the lives of over 5.4 million Africans in in DR Congo.
African leaders should guard against charting a course that will sacrifice the lives of DR Congo citizens at the altar of narrow and short-term political expediency. They should also guard against fashioning an economic recovery programme that puts foreign investors in the front seat and citizens in the back seat. With sound systems, inclusive institutions, frameworks that focus on the long term, structures that ensure peaceful and fair exploitation of resources for the benefit of DR Congo’s people and international goodwill, DR Congo is able to feed Africa and give aid to developed countries.