Interview by Christian Lusakueno of Raga TV

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 10, 2009

QUESTION: Welcome, Madame Secretary.


QUESTION: We are very happy to have you here in Democratic Republic of the Congo. That’s your first visit in Africa as Secretary of State. What have you chosen – why have you chosen Democratic Republic of the Congo?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, both President Obama and I are committed to making the development and democratization of Africa a priority in our foreign policy. And we think that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has tremendous potential and promise. We know all of the problems. We have analyzed and discussed the difficulties that the development of this country faces. But I’m here to really create a new partnership between our countries and to look for ways that we can work together.

QUESTION: What do you mean, in creating a new partnership? President Obama said in Kenya that we – the USA and Africa has to work as partner, but the Democratic Republic of Congo is known as the most conflict country – no money, a $50 million US dollar (inaudible) sufficient, and no Marshall Plan to improve the infrastructure and the things to (inaudible). How can you help this country?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think there are several things. As President Obama also said in Ghana, the future of Africa is up to Africans. The future of this country is up to the Congolese people. The choices as to what direction you go are truly yours to make.

For example, the country has an extremely rich reservoir of natural resources. Right now, the benefits from those resources are not ending up broadly developing the country. They are either being taken out of the country or they are ending up in the hands of a very few people. There are models for what has worked elsewhere. The model that Botswana used when it discovered diamonds – it made sure there was a trust fund created for the country so that all of the money didn’t leave the country. In order to let a company like De Beers exploit their diamonds, they said we want to own 20 percent of the company. And as a result, if you go to Botswana, you see good roads, you see clean water, because the people and their leaders said we’re not going to be exploited and we’re not going to let the benefits end up in a very few hands.

So there are ways that (inaudible) the government of the DRC could be doing things differently. I think also in terms of transparency and accountability, many institutions in the world, like the World Bank, would be very willing to come in and help in this country. But they want to make sure that whatever help they give doesn't end up in a very few hands. I mean, you know that the human rights issues, the corruption issues are very serious. The impunity of people who commit either financial corruption or abuses of human rights means that the investors around the world don’t come unless they think that they can get their investment secure.

So there’s a lot to be done, but a lot of the decisions really depend upon the government of this country and the desire of the people.

QUESTION: This government (inaudible) how can you help? In 1945 in Europe (inaudible) there was a Marshall Plan (inaudible) all the countries (inaudible). This country has a big potential, but it is reaching it yet. It has to be helped.

SECRETARY CLINTON: But if you look at the amount of money that is coming into this country, there are billions of dollars coming in and there are many billions of dollars going out. Yes, I think more countries and more international institutions would be willing to help, but they have to be sure there’s good governance and the rule of law. People will not come to help unless they believe that their help will realize the results that we seek.

And I think that’s the dilemma. How do we get to a place where the natural resources of this country are better used for the benefit of the Congolese people? There is an enormous amount of money being made. I mean, every time someone uses a certain type of cell phone, they are using minerals that come right out of eastern Congo. What does that do for the people that I saw on the way from the airport into the city? Nothing. It helps them in no way.

So there has to be a different development model. There has to be a guarantee of better governance, of no impunity, of accountability and transparency. If the government would say we’re going to publish on the internet every penny that comes from any source, we want our people to see it, we want the international community to see it, you’d get more help. But now, we’re trying to figure out how can we help when nobody is sure that the help will end up helping the people themselves.

QUESTION: Let’s talk now about the eastern Congo. The war is not yet finished. How can it be stopped, and how can we stop the (inaudible) sexual violence against women, to stop them and to punish those responsible?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think there are two things. Obviously, there has to be an agreement – and I commend President Kabila for reaching out to President Kagame of Rwanda and President Museveni of Uganda. There has to be an agreement in the region to end the violence in eastern Congo. The Congolese military has to be better trained. It has to be paid. It has to be disciplined in order to defend the people and their interests. And that is an area where we and other countries and the UN are willing to help.

There has to be an end of the paying of the militias by mineral interests and other interests that buys impunity and gives these militias the free rein to terrorize people. And sexual and gender-based violence must be condemned. It must be condemned by everyone in every part of society. People need to be not only ashamed if they commit rape and other sexual violence, but they need to be arrested and prosecuted and punished so that it serves as a strong message that this will not be tolerated. We are working with your military, we are working with your government, and we are also working with the victims to provide the medical care and the support that the victims of these traumatic attacks so desperately need.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you for having the time to answer to my question. My (inaudible) the first visit of Secretary of State (inaudible) in Democratic Republic of Congo in ten years. How can you quantify (inaudible) between the countries and (inaudible) talk too much about the DRC when (inaudible) come to Kinshasa during his (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that it’s a great privilege for me to be here, and I am honored that so early in the Obama Administration I could come and begin the building of a new partnership and relationship. President Obama cares deeply about what happens in this country because he thinks of the potential that exists here and sees enormous promise not only for the people themselves but for the DRC eventually to play the leadership role it should play given its inherent wealth and the hard work of the people, the commitment that we see among the Congolese.

I don’t know about any future visits. I will certainly report back to the President about my visit. But I want to underscore the hope that we have that out of my visit will come some very concrete changes and actions that will benefit the Congolese people.

QUESTION: Madame (inaudible).


PRN: 2009/T11-35