For the first in nine years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has agreed a new economic programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This total package of $1.52 billion offers a change of course welcomed by Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde Kyenge, the head of the new government in place since 26 April 2021.
Kyenge, 44, former Director General of Gecamines, the state mining company, says he is ready to take up a number of challenges with his government, which has just passed the symbolic 100-day mark.
“Something is happening in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; change is in the air,” said Sama Lukonde, as the Africa News reports.
“Every time we reach a turning point, there is change. This enables the whole population to set new goals, to allow themselves to dream again”.
This surge of hope that seems to be driving the new Prime Minister is largely due to the commitment made with the IMF on July 15. “I am very proud that the government has managed to finalize this programme,” he added.
“For the first time, we have a minister of Digital Affairs, and this will go hand in hand with the population census and ultimately mastering our figures and statistics to improve our economy in general.”
The major projects envisaged by the Prime Minister’s office include an emphasis on strengthening the country’s security, but also its education and health, and above all encouraging local and foreign entrepreneurs and investors to contribute to this “new chapter in Congolese history.”
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a big country in the center of Africa, with not only a large internal market, but also nine neighboring countries. So it is really a link between Southern, North Africa and West Africa.
For the country of more than 89 million people, the stakes are high. “Today, it’s true that our economy depends largely on the mining sector”, said Sama Lukonde. “But we would like to see other sectors of the economy open up.”
Among them, agriculture is a sector with great potential: the DRC has more than 80 million hectares of arable land, but only 10 percent is currently used. Although coffee, cocoa, palm oil and rubber have already been highly industrialized, the cultivation of manioc, maize, rice or soya represents a sector with a high potential for industrial development.
By putting the necessary resources into education, the government hopes to be able to diversify the economy in the agricultural and fishing sectors, in order to move towards food self-sufficiency. “And so, all this youth, all this energy can be channeled so that we can finally achieve these goals,” added Sama Lukonde.