Corruption costs the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at least $15 billion each year, or around three times its annual budget, according to President Joseph Kabila’s anti-graft adviser.
“It’s an open secret that corruption exists and it is seriously eating away at institutions,” Emmanuel Luzolo Bambi told the UN’s news website Okapi.
“I have always said loud and clear that each year we lose at least 15 billion” from corruption and misappropriation of public funds, he said.
The DRC, of which Kabila has been president since 2001, has the reputation of being one of the world’s poorest, most volatile and graft-riddled countries.
In Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, the DRC ranked 161 out of 180 countries.
However, estimates of the financial loss from corruption are hard to quantify – a former Congolese prime minister, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the figure of $15 billion was “plucked out of the air”.
The DRC’s 2018 budget is around $5 billion. The country has a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $40 billion, or nearly a 10th of that of Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest economy.
The World Bank estimates per capita annual income at $450, or 225th out of 237 economies surveyed.