Appropriate DR Congo insurance should be central to any plans for visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On-going conflict, political instability, high levels of violent crime and tropical disease mean that travel here should only be undertaken with specialist advice and close attention to security.
Democratic Republic of Congo – quick facts
- The security situation is unstable in many parts of DRC
- There is a high risk of street crime, particularly to foreign nationals
- International health insurance in DRC is essential, along with cover for emergency evacuation
- Road, rail and air travel can be hazardous due to poor maintenance and safety standards
Get the right insurance for the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Specialist DRC insurance can include protection for personnel, property, vehicles and equipment
- We can cover all of your business liabilities in DRC, and help you to meet contractual and local insurance obligations
- Due to risk to personal security and DRC’s poor infrastructure and healthcare, specialist DRC insurance is strongly advised for visitors and expats
- We can cover you for life, personal accident, personal disability, medical emergencies, evacuation and other specialist insurance needs
Potential dangers in DRC
Formerly known as Zaire, the Democratic Republic of Congo is still recovering from the deadliest conflict since World War II. What is often referred to as ‘Africa’s World War’ ended in 2002, however the political and security situation remains volatile in many areas, and crime and disease are widespread. Although its people are among the world’s poorest, the country’s mineral wealth is thought to be the world’s richest, with an estimated US$24 trillion in untapped deposits.
The DRC is not considered safe for individual travel or tourism and most visiting foreign nationals are involved in the fields of aid distribution or mining and observe strict security precautions.
If you are planning to visit, you should seek expert, up-to-date advice about specialist DR Congo insurance and any potential problems you are likely to encounter. /In view of the possibility of deterioration in the overall security situation, British nationals should have an evacuation plan in place and keep up with the latest advice from the British Embassy. Political tensions and demonstrations can often result in conflict and should always be avoided.
Should operations take you to high risk areas, inclusion of kidnap and ransom insurance may well be advised, as well as cover for war and terrorism. NGO convoys have been frequently attacked travelling out of Goma and Bukavu. In the northeast, the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army is known to be active and there is also on-going conflict between Hutu and Tutsi militias in North and South Kivu. In the northwest, around Mbandaka and Gemena, fighting frequently breaks out between the army and local rebel groups.
Travel by road anywhere is extremely hazardous, not just because of poor maintenance but because of the risk of armed attack, carjacking, and kidnap.
Malaria and waterborne disease claim many lives, and plague is endemic in some north-eastern areas, where there have also been an outbreak of African sleeping sickness. Before travelling, ensure your vaccinations are up to date and that you have the right preventative medication to take while you are there. Recently, October 2014, there have been confirmed cases of Ebola.
In most areas health infrastructure is non-existent and any serious medical emergency would require you to be evacuated by air ambulance to another country. Cover for such an eventuality is essential along with international health insurance in DR Congo.
In the capital, Kinshasa, violent crime is a common problem and westerners are a particular target. Be aware that there have been incidents of fake security servicemen committing robbery. Robberies by gangs of street children are also a problem. Advice is to exercise caution and not to walk or drive alone anywhere at any time. Make sure your DR Congo travel insurance provides adequate cover for your valuables and personal possessions.
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Latest advice from the FCO
The FCO advise against all travel to some regions and against all but essential travel to all other parts of DRC. British nationals should keep their security situation under review. Take out comprehensive travel, medical and kidnap insurance before you travel.