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DRC: analysis of the IMF’s economic and financial situation

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DRC: analysis of the IMF's economic and financial situation

Congo DR is facing considerable development challenges despite its rich natural resource base. For the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the first peaceful alternation of power at the top of the state offers the opportunity to initiate reforms to reduce widespread poverty, create jobs and promote inclusive growth.

IMF Executive Directors, at the end of the August 26 meeting, acknowledged the need to consolidate and capitalize on gains from prudent macroeconomic policies that helped to stimulate the recovery from falling export prices between 2016 and 2017.

According to IMF estimates, GDP growth is expected to fall to 4.3 percent in 2019 as copper and cobalt prices fall from their peak in 2018. A budget deficit of 0.2 percent of GDP is forecast and mining revenues are lower than those of 2018.

« The current account deficit is expected to decline 3.5 percent of GDP, with the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves rising to 3.7 weeks of imports. According to current policies, revenues in the DRC will remain well below the average for sub-Saharan Africa despite the positive impact of the revised Mining Code of 2018. The proliferation of taxes and fiscal institutions; generalized tax exemptions; a narrow tax base; and long porous borders are the underlying factors, « says the board of directors.

The assessment made by the IMF’s directors reveals that the Congolese state’s budget forecasts tended to deviate widely from the results, thus undermining the credibility of the budget process and parliamentary oversight. While emergency spending procedures have been widely used and large domestic arrears have been accumulated.

On the other hand, the IMF’s board of directors argues, monetary policy has been hampered by high levels of dollarization. Hence, the need to ensure the implementation of the new central bank law that was promulgated in 2018 to strengthen the independence of the central bank, increase its capital and strengthen its supervisory capacity of the financial system.

Transparency and accountability in the management of natural resources remain major challenges facing DR Congo. A 2011 decree requiring the Government to publish all mining, oil and forestry contracts has not been fully implemented.

« The audited financial statements of certain government enterprises are not publicly available. The IMF will conduct a governance assessment mission in October, « warned the directors.

As for the business climate, the Board notes that it remains difficult due to a wide range of factors, including the complexity of taxation and judicial vulnerabilities. Weak infrastructure also leads to high production costs.

Emilie MBOYO

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DRC: the « education » project will be submitted to the WB Board of Directors in February 2020

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DRC: Education project to be submitted to World Bank Board in February 2020

The Government’s emergency project on free « Basic Education » will be submitted to the World Bank’s Executive Board in February 2020. According to the Vice President for Africa, Hafez Ghanem, preparations are being intensified to ensure that this deadline is met.

« We are working very quickly on this education project. And we plan to bring this project to our Council as early as February. Regarding the height of the amount, we are in the process of making evaluations. It’s going to be a big amount, around a billion US dollars, » he told reporters at the end of his meeting with the Congolese delegation led by Finance Minister José Sele Yalaghuli.

Indeed, this emergency project is part of World Bank support for the Government’s efforts to provide free basic education, the implementation of which began last September.

To relieve the pressure on public finances to allocate at least US$25-37 million each month, the World Bank has pledged to support the Congolese Government in this regard.

https://twitter.com/Zoom_eco/status/1184909044315758593?s=20In line with the commitment of the Head of State, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, and the President of the World Bank, David Malpass, the Minister of Finance, José Sele Yalaghuli, has clearly indicated the Congolese Government’s firm desire to see the process speed up so that funds are released within an acceptable time frame.

« This is the right time for the partners of DR Congo to match the real political will of the Congolese national executive to meet one of the aspects of the World Bank’s mandate, namely: the fight against poverty, » he said at a previous meeting with the World Bank delegation led by Jean-Christophe Carret.

With regard to the health coverage programme, Hafez Ghanem reiterated his institution’s commitment to continue working alongside the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly in the fight against Ebola.

 

He added: « We will also work with the Government on a new health programme to strengthen basic health centres and improve access to health across the country. »

However, he gave no indication of the amount of funding for this health programme, especially since it is currently under study.

As a reminder, the delegations of DR Congo and the World Bank held a working meeting on Thursday 17 October 2019 in Washington DC. Experts from both sides, led by José Sele Yalaghuli and Hafez Ghanem respectively, reviewed ongoing projects within the World Bank portfolio and those under preparation.

In addition to education and health, projects related to infrastructure, connectivity (roads) and the digital economy were also discussed.

Eric TSHIKUMA, from Washington

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DRC: the three axes of the Accelerated Programme to Combat Poverty and Inequality

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DRC: the three axes of the Accelerated Programme to Combat Poverty and Inequality

The President of the Republic launched his Accelerated Programme to Combat Poverty and Inequality in Kinshasa on Wednesday 16 October at the site of my valley in the commune of Mongafula.

This Programme aims to ensure that twenty million Congolese living in rural and peri-urban areas in the 145 territories of our country leave poverty or extreme poverty within the next 5 years.

It has three components: improving rural and peri-urban populations’ access to basic socio-economic infrastructure and services; promoting rural and peri-urban economies; and building capacity in managing for development results at the national, provincial and local levels.

The first component aims to increase the population’s access to basic services such as housing, electricity through the promotion of micro hydroelectric power plants, drinking water, health and agricultural access roads. This list is not exhaustive.

The second component aims to ensure that people in villages and peri-urban neighbourhoods have improved and stable sources of income and that they consume at least one balanced meal per day. This component will place particular emphasis on promoting inclusive agricultural sectors.

The third component aims to develop a culture of autonomy, which will result in the appropriation of development by the beneficiary populations, the strengthening of self-esteem, meritocracy and a motivated attachment to their living environment.

Substantial resources for this ambitious program!

« The Programme, the main components of which I have just unveiled, requires ambitious funding over several years, » said Félix Tshisekedi, aware of these challenges. In the face of such an ambition, the Head of State asks the Government to spare no effort to explore all possible avenues likely to provide the means for this saving action for the people.

It is with this in mind that the last Council of Ministers adopted the hypothesis of a budget reaching the 10 billion mark.

In addition, Félix Tshisekedi intends to engage the country in far-reaching reforms ranging from the rebuilding of the state with justice as the epicentre to the sectors of national life.

This is how he makes his main focus the fight against anti-values, particularly corruption, embezzlement of public funds, tax fraud, smuggling and tribalism. And all means will be used to ensure that all State revenues are channelled into the Public Treasury.

Finally, to make this programme a success, the President of the Republic is counting on the involvement of all his compatriots, beyond the divisions.
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Harris Kasongo

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DRC: Economic and financial situation at the heart of a meeting at the World Bank

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DRC: Economic and financial situation at the heart of a meeting at the World Bank

The economic situation in DR Congo is the focus of a meeting on Thursday 17 October 2019 at the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington DC. The Minister of Finance, José Sele Yalaghuli, leads the delegation of Congolese experts.

In his presentation, the national silversmith described a macroeconomic framework for DR Congo that has remained stable.

Despite accumulated deficits of 420 billion Congolese francs at the end of September 2019, domestic prices and the exchange rate fluctuated slightly. And at this rate, the Government reports inflation of 4.2% at the end of December 2019, which is below the 7% end of period forecast level.

Referring to the strategic and political orientations of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Minister Sele Yalaghuli cited in particular the tightening of public spending in order to limit deficits and the subscription of treasury bonds with the ambition of mobilizing 150 billion CDF by the end of 2019 to fill the gaps.

The first results are promising, especially since a small monthly budget surplus was recorded at the end of September 2019.

Moreover, added Sele Yalaghuli, the third orientation concerns the Government’s firm commitment to pursue the implementation of reforms with the support of partners to remove obstacles sector by sector and to be able to remedy them.

With regard to cooperation between the Congo DR and the Bretton Woods institutions. After the break-up of the formal programme with the IMF in 2012, the ongoing recovery strategy of the current discussions is based on two options.

First, the interim program. Then, the formal program. If the first one will cover the preparation period of the second one, the conclusion of the formal programme could take place after the third quarter of 2020.

« This is the right time for the partners of DR Congo to match the real political will of the Congolese national executive to meet one of the aspects of the World Bank’s mandate, namely: the fight against poverty, » José Sele Yalaghuli said, addressing the World Bank delegation led by Jean-Christophe Carret.

With the World Bank, experts from DR Congo are working on preparations and options to initiate disbursement of funds for the Government’s priority sectors on are: basic education and universal health coverage.

This interaction with World Bank teams continued, with Hafez Ghanem, Vice President in charge of the Africa region, as the focus.

Eric TSHIKUMA, from Washington DC

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