By: Sister Marie-Rose Ndimbo
Created capital of DR Congo in 1929, Kinshasa was still up to the country’s independence in 1960, a small town, with a mere 500,000 inhabitants. This year 2014, the population of Kinshasa is estimated at about 10 million inhabitants, making it the third largest city in Africa.The main reasons for this overcrowding are the high birth rate ( an average of 6 children per couple ) , internal migration of populations after several wars of rebellion, and of course the permanent exodus in Africa.
Such a situation unfortunately creates many issues for which successive governments have sought solutions. First is the ecological health problems . For a long time many dumps have simply been created in the streets. Today , co-operative organizations such as PAUK have established intermediate disposal sites in some neighborhoods, from where household waste is transported to the final disposal site. But this effort has not yet won over all municipalities.
Secondly , the provisioin of housing has not kept pace with the population. Old avenues are now overcrowded and annexes reduce sidewalks to a couple of feet. Many people are under- housed and cannot maintain a dignified marriage and family life.
A third problem is the insufficient public transport. Public transport companies have gone bankrupt one after the other (STK , SOTRAZ , City Train, STUC and today TRANSCO ) . A remarkable effort , however, is slated to expand the former colonial roads.
Finally, we can not keep silent on the general problem of crime and safety . Recent years have been marked by sad experiences. “Kuluna” or unemployed youths do not hesitate to hurt their victims with machetes to extract money, phones or other property. Fortunately the Congolese National Police is today in the process of cracking down against these groups with its operation “LIKOFI.”
While commending these efforts, our ethical view calls for action on the upstream causes of overpopulation. Efforts should be made to educate the population on family planing and to avoid wars that impede development in the provinces of the DRC. Read More. French Version.