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Isidore Kwandja: « Felix Tshisekedi wants to take the digital turn »

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Isidore Kwandja: "Felix Tshisekedi wants to take the digital turn"

[TRIBUNE] – In just over seven months after taking office, President Felix Tshisekedi embarked on a major project to roll out digital public administration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by 2025.

Pending the composition of the government team which will, of course, be responsible for leading and coordinating the implementation of this ambitious reform, the staff of Felix Tshisekedi have not lost their time because of this delay. They immediately set to work to build a digital nation plan, which ministers responsible for this issue will find on their drawing boards.

The national digital plan is in line with President Tshisekedi’s desire to modernize the Congolese public administration, progressively migrating to digital, to make it more professional and more effective and to adapt it to the requirements of modern governance, in an increasingly interdependent world. All this in order to ensure greater transparency in the management of public affairs and finances, on the one hand, and to fight corruption effectively, on the other hand.

Felix Tshisekedi wants all state officials to use information and communication technologies as much as possible to computerize records management, to eliminate the mountain of paperwork that clutters offices and to gain access to information. real time information. A daunting challenge in the context of an administration where most civil servants do not even have a computer on their desk.

However, the digital shift has a triple objective: to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public services and to provide quality services at a lower cost. This digital shift is part of Félix Tshisekedi’s desire to modernize public management, in order to guarantee transparency, improve decision-making processes and ensure rigorous management of public policies.

But the big question is obviously whether this will be possible, given that most of the ministries that are supposed to implement this reform will be led by the ministers from the Common Front for Congo (FCC) of the former – President Joseph Kabila, who does not necessarily share the same way of seeing things and who may not be in the same state of mind as President Tshisekedi, even though they are in a coalition.

One thing is certain, beyond the will of President Tshisekedi to take the digital turn to modernize the Congolese public administration, the realization of this ambitious reform will also depend on the political will of its FCC partners.

However, the transition to the digital age is a huge change that absolutely requires that we take into account all the internal and external parameters that can compromise the project. Indeed, the deployment of such a transformation is inevitably accompanied by certain operational inefficiencies. In this case, the major challenge for effective implementation of this transition to digital governance is the weakness of the Congolese public administration. Hence the need to strengthen the management capacity of senior state officials responsible for implementing this reform.

Admittedly, a series of administrative reforms had been initiated in previous years to improve the efficiency of the Congolese public administration, but judging by the results achieved, notably their failure to meet the need for efficiency, effectiveness and efficiency. of economy, it is necessary to ask whether there are no systemic problems within this administration that must absolutely be identified and corrected.

This is why we believe that the digital switchover requires the Congolese government to undertake a comprehensive reform of its public administration, including the organizational structure and the appropriate management bodies necessary for the implementation of the program. government action to increase the quality of citizen services and foster results-based management.

Structural reform is therefore necessary and will have to change the working methods and also contribute to an organizational culture that is conducive to professional development, to promote sound management in the public sector. The Congolese government will have to know how to make the best of all the expertise, internal and external, including those of the diaspora, who offer themselves to impulse a new dynamic in its public administration.

Isidore KWANDJA NGEMBO, Political scientist and public policy analyst

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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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