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Isidore Kwandja: « Tshisekedi has still not appointed his personal representative to the Francophonie »



Isidore Kwandja: "Tshisekedi has still not appointed his personal representative to the Francophonie"

TRIBUNE – As is customary in the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), all Member Heads of State and Government, immediately elected, appoint their Personal Representatives to the Francophonie to ensure the follow-up and implementation of the resolutions and recommendations adopted by them at the Francophonie Summit, which takes place every two years.

Generally, Member Heads of State and Government meet only every two years to discuss the future of the Organization and define the main strategic orientations that guide the action of the Secretary General of La Francophonie. It is the personal representatives of the Heads of State and Government who meet regularly in ordinary session of the Permanent Council of La Francophonie (CPF) or even in extraordinary session when there is a worrying situation affecting one of the member countries.

The CPF is therefore the body empowered to ensure the proper functioning of the Organization, in compliance with the policies, programmes and budgets defined, in particular the implementation of all decisions taken by the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie (CMF), the examination of the political situation and the monitoring of the state of democracy, human rights and civil liberties practices in the Francophone world.

Almost ten months after taking office, President Tshisekedi has still not appointed his Personal Representative to the Francophonie to oversee the strategic interests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is also the largest French-speaking country in the world, given its considerable numerical size and demographic weight.

Moreover, in an interview given in December 2018 to B-One TV Congo’s « Debriefing » hosted by journalist Mamina Masengo, Ambassador Isabel Machik Ruth Tshombe, who had been appointed to this position since 2000, makes this very clear:

« All this will depend first and foremost on the choice of the next President of the Republic, because it is at his discretion to choose who will represent him. But on the other hand, I think I did the Nation a favour, I did the work that was asked of me. And, if you really have to choose between the Francophonie and working for Lualaba, I think I would be much more useful in Lualaba. But I simply believe that we must also know how to leave and we must also prepare the next generation. Because in our country, that’s what’s a little unfortunate, when I started in the Francophonie, I didn’t even get any postponements, so I had to do the research myself, do the work to finally structure the Office of the Commissioner and have the right people in the right place. So I must also be able to accompany the person who will replace me. And then, of course, I would be happy to do so, because a country only evolves well when you can keep the chain going. You can’t sclerose yourself to a position, Francophonie is me, it’s Isabel Tshombe, no. I am here, it was Laurent Désiré Kabila who put me in charge of La Francophonie when I was the Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation. I was in charge of the Francophonie and I was a personal representative since 2000. I believe in a good little soldier, I even did the right thing. It is time to move on ».

This great lady, who has served her country for nearly 20 years in the Francophonie, is only asking for one thing, to find a replacement and give her the opportunity to take up other challenges facing the country.

There is therefore an urgent need for the President of the Republic to appoint his Personal Representative for the Francophonie, especially since the DRC, by agreeing to organize the Games of La Francophonie in 2021, will have to work hard to catch up and ensure that these Games are held in good conditions.

So that means it shouldn’t be a risky choice. President Tshisekedi will have to choose a person in whom he trusts, but a person with a very good knowledge of the Organization, of the work carried out by it and who is familiar with the mysteries of Francophone diplomacy. A person who demonstrates a particular interest in the proper functioning of the Francophonie.

However, it is important to mention that regardless of its considerable numerical size and demographic weight, which make it the first French-speaking country in the world, the DRC has very little influence within the OIF. The countries that exercise considerable influence and authority are those that occupy strategic positions in this Organization.

Thus, by the nature of the functions they occupy within the organization’s organizational chart, they guide IFM’s action in the interests of national strategic interests.

To date, there is no Congolese national holding a management position, neither in the various directorates of the central administration in Paris, nor in the four Permanent Representations to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, the European Union in Brussels and the African Union in Addis Ababa, nor in the Regional Offices across the five continents, nor in the Organization’s subsidiary bodies and not even in the Office of the Secretary General of La Francophonie.

The Personal Representative will also have to play the role of special adviser to the President of the Republic in charge of all matters relating, directly or indirectly, to La Francophonie, in order to better provide him with regular and timely advice, opinions and considerations and to ensure that the DRC can take an active part in the various programmes implemented within the OIF.

Isidore KWANDJA NGEMBO, Politilogue

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



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. 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



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.

Harris Kasongo

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



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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