The Democratic Republic of Congo boasts a generous supply of natural resources and opportunities, including the ability to use hydropower, but the country’s history of political instability and economic turmoil prevents its citizens from utilizing these assets. In fact, it ranks as one of the top five poorest countries and around 60 million, or 62% of its population, Congolese lived on less than $2.15 a day in 2022. Despite these statistics, the government seeks to help its citizens through efforts to further poverty eradication in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Digital Aid Program
During the pandemic, Togo launched the Novissi program. This initiative was partly led by Joshua Blumenstock, co-director of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), with an aim to identify those affected by poverty using “machine learning combined with mobile phone records and satellite data.” Novissi provided Togo’s poorest with cash transfers as a form of aid as the pandemic ravaged the nation.
Modeling this example, in December 2021, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government also initiated a COVID-19 relief program. With financial help from the World Bank and technical assistance from GiveDirectly, Congolese citizens receive access to $25 online payments over a period of six months. The transfer of cash and the aspects of financial independence play significant roles in poverty eradication in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
National Development Plan
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) National Development Plan (NDP) for 2022-2026 seeks to create “wealth upstream, in order to have, downstream, the necessary levers to deal with the country’s problems.” By focusing on strengthening the country’s economy and enlisting help from foreign aid, this program aims to resolve its most glaring poverty difficulties. It operates on six pillars:
- Agriculture – The growth of the agricultural sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo could not only provide a stable source of healthy food for a nation that experiences food insecurity but also expand the economy and increase national growth.
- Industry – Similar to the development of agriculture, the growth of an industrial sector could transform the economy by creating new jobs and increasing entrepreneurship.
- Special Economic Zones (SEZs) – SEZs “contribute to the intensification of industrial development.” The SEZs could allow the DRC to appear competitive on an international level, thereby increasing the number of exports received while also building domestic entrepreneurship.
- Tourism – The tourism sector could attract international attraction by utilizing the country’s natural resources for development. This also includes moving away from the country’s reliance on oil to diversify the economy. Expanding the national economy and implementing new resources serve as essential innovations in poverty eradication in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Digital Economy – The growth of a digital economy could place the country on the global market, allowing it to experience relative productivity. Digitalization could also provide young individuals with access to new jobs and financial opportunities.
- Real Estate Development – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s need for housing and office and business buildings calls for an intensive reconstructive focus on updating real estate properties.
Opportunity International’s Programs
Around 10 million hectares of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 80 million hectares of plowable land are currently under cultivation, leaving a vast amount of fertile soil bare and untouched. Because of this discrepancy, which leaves families without a stable food supply, Opportunity International, a nonprofit organization that assists individuals in starting businesses, attending school, cultivating farms and reducing poverty, spearheaded the Agriculture Finance program across Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This initiative focuses on the market research of crops and collaborating with cooperatives to provide people with financial and agricultural training. Agricultural Finance also opens banking services for farmers and provides them with ready-to-use seeds and fertilizers in addition to enlisting a market of buyers. Positively, this program aided more than 540,000 farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
These crucial developments to further poverty eradication in the Democratic Republic of Congo signal hope for a better future. As things stand, the trends suggest that focusing on technology-based solutions in the financial and industrial markets expands opportunity and paves the path for stability.
– Maddy Grieco