AFRICAN economies are rising steadily, but in the Democratic Republic of Congo life for many is as bad as ever. Armed men rape and plunder with impunity. Rebel groups terrorise vast stretches of land rich in minerals and agricultural potential. Millions have died as a result. And for years the outside world has done little more than shrug. Its main effort—a 14-year-old UN peacekeeping mission—has failed to end “Africa’s world war”, which started as an ethnic conflict sparked by the genocide next door in Rwanda before descending into murderous anarchy farther afield.