From Business Day Live
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government should address its failure to meet spending targets and take steps to spur growth and create jobs, according to a draft report by a conference of the country’s leaders.
Greater spending on industries such as agriculture and more support for small-and medium-sized companies could reduce Congo’s reliance on mining and increase employment, the report says.
The draft was obtained by Bloomberg and verified by members of the economic committee of the country’s national conference on unity and governance that began on September 7 and may end this week. Congo’s economic policies “impose a quasi-permanent austerity on the country, thus blocking a revival that will create wealth and jobs”, the report says.
The Central African nation is still recovering from four decades of dictatorship and civil wars that destroyed its economy.
While annual economic output has grown by an average of 6% in the past decade, only about 4% of Congolese have formal employment, the report says. Congo’s $18bn economy may expand 8.3% this year, compared with 7.1% last year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The growth rate “remains insufficient in the short term to transform in a significant way the social conditions” of the country’s 70-million people, the report says. “The Congolese economy relies essentially on extractive industries, which do not generate sufficient employment.”
Congo is the world’s eighth-largest producer of copper, the biggest source of cobalt, which is used in rechargeable batteries, and Africa’s largest tin producer. It is also exploring for oil.
The country needs to invest in electricity, transport and water to encourage trade, while focusing on agriculture to generate new jobs, said former central bank governor Jean-Claude Masangu, a member of the conference’s economic committee.
Read more at Business Day Live.