Police officers in training
(Photo by Shin’ichi Kuno)
Japanese economic cooperation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo dates back to the 1970s, when the country was still known as Zaire. Over the decades that followed, Japan extended vital support in building the country's infrastructure, including water supply, health services, and human resource development. Japan also extended its seismic expertise to the country's volcano monitoring projects. Unfortunately, these activities came to a halt in 1991 as a result of civil war. Following the presidential elections in 2006, Japan decided to resume full-scale bilateral assistance to the DRC. Since then, JICA has provided reconstruction support in three main focus areas: human resource development aimed at developing a national police force to secure the peace, infrastructure construction and job training for economic development, and assistance to help develop adequate health services and a safe water supply, as well as improving access to social services.
Supporting training for the Congolese National Police is central to JICA's work in the country. Developing a viable police force is vital for consolidating the peace and is a prerequisite for sustainable economic development. Activities include refresher courses for police officers and long-term basic training for new recruits (including many enlisted from former armed insurgent groups). These programs are operated in partnership with the UN Police (which prepares the curriculum and dispatches instructors) and the UN Development Programme (which has handled logistics since 2009). These programs thus represent good examples of successful collaboration with UN agencies. To date some 18,000 police officers have received training, and the programs have been credited with substantially improving the attitude and morale of police officers.