Head of State Felix Tshisekedi is going to war against poverty, which has long taken up residence in the DRC. According to him, « poverty remains a mass phenomenon in the DRC, but one that we will all overcome together ». He made this solemn commitment on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, during the launch of the Accelerated Presidential Program to Fight Poverty and Inequality. A programme launched on the Lake of Ma Vallée site in the municipality of Mongafula.
In 2017, poverty was estimated at 63% with an incidence in rural areas of around 70%, despite the absence of a recent update of the national poverty survey.
This poverty is more pronounced in 15 DRC territories with an incidence of more than 85%, according to a study conducted in 2017 by the Cellule d’Analyses des Indicateurs de Développement (CAID). These are the territories of Boso-Bolo, Businga, Djolu, Inongo, Kasongo-Lunda, Katako-Kombe, Katanda, Kiri, Kole, Lodja, Lomela, Lusambo, Miabi, Poko, and Songololo.
Several alarming signal factors point to this rather glaring poverty. These include, in particular,:
Drinking water supply, which is around 26% at the national level, with a glaring disparity between the urban environment, which is 38% supplied, and the rural environment, which is 14% covered. Electricity supply with coverage of less than 10% nationally and only 1% in rural areas.
Lack of decent housing. In this regard, it can be seen that in rural areas, only 7% of homes are built with sustainable materials, while 95% of households lack any sanitation system, septic tanks and covered latrines.
Lack of schools for young people who are left to their own devices; no adult training either, no adequate health system, no roads in good condition to open up, no food, no income, etc.
Consequences of this poverty
Poverty is also one of the main vectors of violence and various other types of conflict. It encourages and revives the emergence of negative forces, including rebel movements, by encouraging the easy recruitment of poor women, men and children into various criminal enterprises, ranging from the « Kuluna » phenomenon in our cities to armed rebellions that are still raging in certain parts of the country.
Living in a hostile environment, without clean water or electricity, without schools or adult education, without adequate health care, without roads, without food, without income,… is one of the most insidious forms of human rights violations.
DRC: the « education » project will be submitted to the WB Board of Directors 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.
#RDC La @Banquemondiale affirme travailler d'arrache-pieds pour accélérer le processus d'appui financier à la gratuité de l'éducation de base. D'après @HafezGhanem_WB, le projet sera soumis au Conseil d'administration en février 2020 | @MinFin_rdc @Presidence_RDC via @Zoom_eco pic.twitter.com/c9cRo55liQ
— Zoom Eco (@Zoom_eco) October 17, 2019
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.
In 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. »
— Zoom Eco (@Zoom_eco) October 1, 2019
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
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.
DRC: Kinshasa Cultural Centre, construction work launched for two years
Head of State Felix Antoine Tshisekedi laid the foundation stone for the Kinshasa Cultural Centre on Tuesday, October 15, 2019. This project strengthens the ties of Sino-Congolese cooperation. If the cost of the work is estimated at USD 100 million, the duration of the work is two years. They will be executed by Beijing Urban Construction Group.
The launch of this work follows the signing of two decrees by the Ministers of Urban Planning and Housing and International Cooperation, under the supervision of Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunkamba.
This laying of the foundation stone by the Head of State is the result of a partnership between the DRC and China.
Tu Wentao, Chargé d’Affaires of the People’s Republic of China, recalled in his speech that in 2015, China announced, at the Forum Summit on China-Africa Cooperation, the construction of five cultural centres in Africa. Among them, the centre for Central Africa is undoubtedly located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the largest country in the region.
DRC: laying the foundation stone of the Kinshasa Cultural Centre with the support of the Chinese government!
« Congolese society is showing great vitality by implementing major development programmes. At this time, it should not be overlooked that culture and art constitute the primary wealth of a people and a driving force for development, inspiring enthusiasm and creativity in a nation that has long sought socio-economic prosperity, » he said.
If the Congolese people, who never lack artistic imagination, this diplomat maintains that is always proud of his abundant creation. He remains convinced that this Centre, which brings the best wishes of the Chinese people to the Congolese people, will be able to help DR Congo regain its leadership position in the world of African culture and show the whole world the dynamic image of Congolese society.
The Kinshasa Cultural Centre will be one of the largest in Africa and will constitute an innovative source not only for the country’s economy but even more so to restore the DRC’s position as a leader in the world of African culture.
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