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DRC: Inga 3 project, civil society demands consideration of local community opinions

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A coalition of Congolese civil society organizations and local communities affected by the Inga dams called on the Congolese government and foreign partners, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), to take into account the demands of the communities local authorities regarding the development of the Inga 3 project.

« The high social and environmental risks of the Inga 3 project are obvious. We communities affected by Inga 1 and 2 have been fighting for decades to get fair compensation and continue to suffer the economic and cultural consequences of losing our land », said Albert Tona, a member of the Inga community.

According to 32 Congolese civil society organizations, many households are at risk of being re-displaced by Inga 3. This forces local communities to make the following claims:

– Prior public consultation;

– Implementation of good independent studies of environmental and social impacts;

– Improving communication on the Inga 3 project, in particular by setting up a communication system that will enable all Congolese to be informed in real time about the progress of the project;

– The participation of civil society as a stakeholder in the project and the consultation of affected local communities;

– Compensation for communities impacted by the Inga site and the Inga 1 and 2 dams, resulting in communities losing their lands;

– The development of micro-dams and other forms of renewable energy to increase the population access rate to electricity which is 9% yesterday.

Recommendations

Faced with these demands, the signatory organizations recommend to the Congolese government to reconsider the development of the Inga 3 project. This will have the advantage, according to them, of taking the time to reflect on the strategies and good practices to be put in place in favor of the development of the energy sector in DR Congo and the increase in the population’s access to clean and sustainable energy.

They have also asked the African Development Bank (AfDB) to work to uphold its own principles in projects supported by it, which dedicate the consultation and involvement of different stakeholders in a project supported financially by it.

Since his inauguration on February 24, 2019, the President of the Republic has repeatedly called upon his fellow presidents and invited various partners to come and invest in the DRC, particularly in the Inga 3 project. including the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). However, in this approach, the demands of local communities should be taken into account.

History of Inga 3

Inga3 is part of the larger Grand Inga project, a giant hydroelectric complex project in Kongo Central Province, aiming to achieve a production capacity of about 40 gigawatts. Initially, the project was to supply 4.8 gigawatts of electricity, mainly to be exported to South Africa and to supply mines in southeastern DRC.

If the World Bank canceled its commitment in 2016 following political contingencies in the DRC, the government began in 2017 the resizing of the project by doubling the production capacity, to reach more than 10 gigawatts.

The Inga Project Development and Promotion Agency (ADPI) asked the two competing consortia that bid (a consortium led by China Three Gorges Corporation and another comprising the Spanish group ACS, chaired by Florentino Perez, president of the club Real Madrid) to present a joint offer.

And since December 2019, an exclusive development agreement has been signed between the Congolese government represented by ADPI on the one hand and the consortium represented by the two companies mentioned above on the other.

Agnes KAYEMBE

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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.
political.

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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