Definition of Youth

According to the national youth policy (2009) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasha), youth is defined as between 15-35 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • --
  • --
  • Female
  • 15
  • --
  • --

  • No data for marriage with parental consent. No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Homosexual acts legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Criminal liability begins at 16, however in 2010, a 14-year-old child soldier was sentenced to death. Source:  UN Child Rights Periodic Report
Human Rights Watch

Majority Age


Source: Family Code (2003)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 79.95% Male (15-24) %
  • 57.45% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • --Male %
  • -- Female %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 36.50% Male (13-15) %
  • 29.30% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
The Democratic Republic of Congo adopted a national youth policy in 2009. A reform is underway.

The vision of the national youth policy (2009) is to develop patriotic, responsible, competitive and educated youth citizens. The policy covers fifteen domains, including education, HIV/AIDS, employment, sports, rural development and gender. The policy emphasises its transversal and decentralised framework, where the responsibility for its implementation lies with various ministries (ex. education, social protection) but is coordinated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The stakeholders of the policy include an inter-ministerial steering committee, which is a high-level political structure responsible for monitoring & evaluation, and a technical committee made up of representatives from ministries, development partners and NGOs that are involved in operations and service-delivery to youth.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
As described in the 2009 national youth policy, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is the main governmental body responsible for the coordination of youth activities and the implementation of youth policy in Congo-Kinshasa. Order No. 07/018 (2007) outlines the powers of the ministry. In the area of youth, its powers include civic education, coaching youth sport talent, organising and managing vocational and agricultural training of youth, and the promotion of the social life of young people. However, its roles are more generally focused on sport.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
According to the Ministerial Order MJS/CAB/2011/024/99 (1999), the National Youth Council (CNJ) is responsible for coordinating the activities of all youth. It gives advice on youth policy to the Ministry of Youth and Sports as a member of the Board. Unfortunately, CNJ has no online presence. The national youth policy (2009) specifies that the CNJ inform youth about its implementation and evaluation, to promote youth ownership in the process. The policy also states that all CNJ member organisations must have democratic structures, with elected officials.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
CDF 5.4 billion
USD 5.9 million
According to the 2014 Budget (by Administrative Section), the section entitled “Youth” was allocated a budget of approximately CDF 5.4 billion (USD 5.9 million). This amount includes costs such as the functioning of the ministries, and grants to auxiliary organisations. According to the World Bank, Congo-Kinshasa spent 8.89% of its government expenditure and 2.51% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

From BBC News – Democratic Republic of Congo profile (2014):
A vast country with immense economic resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has been at the centre of what some observers call "Africa's world war". This has left it in the grip of a humanitarian crisis. The five-year conflict pitted government forces, supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda.
Despite a peace deal and the formation of a transitional government in 2003, people in the east of the country remain in terror of marauding militias and the army.
The war claimed an estimated three million lives, either as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. It has been called possibly the worst emergency in Africa in recent decades.
The war had an economic as well as a political side. Fighting was fuelled by the country's vast mineral wealth, with all sides taking advantage of the anarchy to plunder natural resources, and some small militias fight on.
From National Youth Policy (2009) (English translation: Google Translate): Demographic
According to the 1970 census administrative and scientific 30,731,000 Inhabitants Census 1984 and has over 70 Million today (INS 2009). The annual growth rate is 3.1 %. At this rate, all other conditions being equal, the population of the DRC should double every 23 years. The rapid population growth induces unprecedented demand for basic social services, in terms of infrastructure and services that the country is still unable to meet.
The population of the DRC is young and rejuvenating over 68 % of people aged less than 25 years, a majority of whom live in rural areas (over 60 %). The median age is 21 years passes in 1984 and 15,5 years in 2009. This situation reflects a high degree of dependence of the persons responsible for creating the inability of workers to save. In addition, it causes a significant pressure on social and health infrastructure and the environment. [...]
In spite of its considerable potential, the DRC is classified among the poorest countries of the world. Job insecurity and unemployment hit 90% of the active population, particularly young people and women, who are in the informal sector, which was 60% during the year ended 80 represent over 80 % of GDP in the early years 90.
The majority of households are unable to ensure minimum food, health care and schooling for their children. The bulk of the population is engaged in agriculture. Certain groups of the population live mainly by hunting, gathering, animal husbandry and fisheries. The country is sparsely industrialized. Despite this generalized poverty, the state has disengaged basic social services to the point of giving parents the total responsibility of education and medical care. Poverty is the main determinant of sex, early pregnancies and the spread of STIs / HIV / AIDS.
Reproductive health of young people in particular is characterized by induced abortions, often fatal, affecting 30 % of teenagers, a high and possibly increasing fertility due to the high proportion of young people under the age of 2 years. 20 % of teens and 30% have abortions each year. Reflecting a precocious sexuality, intense and low contraceptive coverage: 3.4% of the age of 8 years and 57% at the age of 17 years and 79% at the age of 19 years. This precocity is higher in rural than in urban areas.
Adolescents and youth have been the main victims of armed conflicts that the DRC has experienced in the last ten years. Several youth and adolescents were forcibly enlisted in the armed groups. Thousands more were traumatized because of violence and rape they suffered or endured by their parents in their presence. The phenomenon of sexual slavery singularly affects girls and women.
Moreover, the disappearance or death of parents turns teenagers  prematurely in to heads of families, and forcing them to abandon school. Some young people finally have severe psychological disorders, malnutrition and others died in appalling conditions.