This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Congo Needs to be on Our Radar Screen

Uganda is opening up new camps for refugees from violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to BBC News. Violence is not a new thing in DR Congo, of course, but neither does it show any sign of going away.

Tens of thousands of Congolese have fled over the years - and the country is struggling to recover from the civil conflict that claimed an estimated three million lives.
The BBC's Ignatius Bahizi visited the camps where 6,000 people have arrived since July. Recent arrivals told him of killings, abductions and rape by unknown armed men.
The UN's refugee agency says the recent movement of people is "not a massive flight yet".
"It is not so much the number but the fact that they are not safe in their country and that they need assistance," UNHCR's Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba told the BBC.
The reason that this instability is important to all of us is that the population in the DR Congo is growing at an explosive rate. The UN Population Division estimates that the 70 million people currently living there (which makes it already the 18th most populous country in the world), will double to 150 million by 2050, surpassing the population of Mexico by that time. Yet, what do most of us know about this emerging demographic behemoth? Not much.
DR Congo is rich in minerals such as gold, diamond and coltan, which is used in mobile phones.
But years of conflict and mismanagement mean it recently came bottom of a survey of living standards around the world.
I guarantee you that a resource-rich country that is nonetheless desperately poor and rapidly increasing in its population cannot stay off our radar screen for very long.

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