Poverty, population growth, and youth violence in DRC’s cities

April 28, 2016

​Results from IDRC-supported research at the Université de Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), show that unregulated population growth — averaging 10 births per woman — combined with a lack of education and economic opportunities for impoverished youth, contribute to the proliferation of youth gangs who terrorize cities like Kinshasa and Mbuji-Mayi. Armed with knives, machetes, and similar weapons, youth aged 10 to 35 make up these gangs who consider themselves to be “socially dead.”

In a new Research Results brief, the research team identifies compulsory education, job creation for women and youth, and improved policing practice and resources as key strategies to reintegrate these marginalized young people and reduce urban violence. Addressing vigilante groups that have been established in response to the threat of these “Kuluna” youth gangs is also a priority.  

Learn more about what drives DRC’s urban violence and how it is linked to poverty and exclusion in the brief, “Urban violence and exclusion in the DRC” (PDF, 3.8MB).

Find further publications and more information about the project, “The nature and perpetrators of urban violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Discover how IDRC is working with the UK’s Department for International Development to tackle urban violence and exclusion through our Safe and Inclusive Cities initiative.