Tuesday 13 October 2009

What GNP per what capita?

I am working on a background paper on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC has conducted its last census in 1984, very few births and deaths are formally recorded, public services are in shambles - which makes that no-one can really say how many people live in the country and how they are spread. Most of the country's economy (many sources say 90%) is classified as "informal" - people growing what they need for their subsistance, selling this and that on the market, trading goods and services, digging for gold. A large part of the trade of the rich mineral resources goes unrecorded: for example, most of the country's gold is reportedly smuggled to Uganda, whose gold exports are far superior to the amounts Uganda can produce. No-one has a clear idea of the money that changes hands in illegal arms trading - only that it must be a lot, given the abundance of small weapons in the DRC.