The outbreak of war in August 1998 caused the collapse of the Congo's already frail economy. Since the outbreak of war, the country has been divided into Rwandan/Ugandan rebel-governed areas, and areas controlled by the government. Commerce between these regions has ceased and the Congo's economy has suffered even more.
As a result of this war, the Congolese government's revenues went from bad to dismal. Customs revenues have declined because the flow of imports has dried up. Tax revenues have also substantially declined because of the fall in business activity. Further compounding the problem is the fact that unpaid government bills owed to private businesses have increased to the point that some businesses have been forced to close.
On January 16, 2001, President Laurent Kabila was assassinated by one of his bodyguards. Ten days later Major General Joseph Kabila was appointed as interim president. At the inception of his presidency, Joseph Kabila has demonstrated a sincere interest in re-establishing peace in the Congo. Thus far, he has revived the Lusaka Peace Accord, and both Rwanda and Uganda have begun removing their troops from the Congo. Additionally, the U.N. began sending peacekeeping troops to the Congo. There are also signs that Joseph Kabila will adopt a less hard-line approach to governing the Congo than his father. He has already replaced his father's hard-line cabinet with appointees with a more liberal outlook on governance. Joseph Kabila has also engaged in extensive travel to meet heads of state of many of the Western nations to reintegrate the Congo into the international community. It remains to be seen how he intends to reinvigorate the Congo's decrepit economic state.