"Conflict, poor governance, and a long-running humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) present a range of challenges for international policy makers, including Members of Congress. Chronic instability in the mineral-rich and densely populated east of the country has caused widespread human suffering and inhibited private sector investment throughout the wider Great Lakes region of central Africa. Congolese political actors have displayed limited capacity and will to improve security and governance, while neighboring states have reportedly periodically provided support to rebel groups in DRC. Some progress in addressing recurrent conflict was made in 2013, although DRC remains a fragile state and the east is still afflicted by violence. DRC and its neighbors agreed to a regional peace framework in early 2013. In November 2013, the Congolese military--backed by a new U.N. 'Intervention Brigade'--defeated a relatively formidable rebel group known as the M23, which had emerged in 2012. Newly appointed U.S. and U.N. special envoys played a key role in facilitating a peace process with the M23 and have urged further talks among political leaders in the region. U.S. leverage may nonetheless be constrained by limited available resources, a lack of DRC state capacity and commitment, and the challenge of coordinating with and influencing other key players, including European donors, China, and regional powers such as Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, and South Africa. U.S. policy makers, including in Congress, continue to debate the relative effectiveness of policy tools in DRC, including aid, public advocacy, support for multilateral organization efforts, and other engagement."
CRS Report for Congress, R43166
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html