This Selected Issues paper takes stock of poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Poverty has receded in the DRC over the last decade on the back of gradual stabilization in the security and political situation, strong economic growth, and sharp decline in inflationary pressures. Most social indicators also improved during the period. However, poverty remains pervasive with a level still among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, and DRC will likely not achieve any of the Millennium Developments Goals by 2015. Policy actions should focus on fostering the development of labor-intensive sector, increasing social spending, and redirecting public resources to the poorest regions of the country.
This Joint Advisory Note on the Democratic Republic of the Congo discusses economic growth and employment-creating sectors. The agriculture and mining sectors are projected to continue their expansion, while simultaneously raising labor productivity and freeing up labor. The urban population is expected to reach 40 million by 2025, up from an estimated 24 million in 2012. Some of these urban centers will function as service centers for rural areas, but they will be increasingly integrated with international markets through formal and informal trade, partly as a result of better telecommunications. The government’s objective is to boost mining output, and the sector’s contribution to fiscal revenues requires an increase in foreign investment, an improvement in the business climate, and a strengthening of governance.
Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.
Congo’s first full Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy underpinned the economic policy during a particularly challenging transitional period. The difficulty is in implementing the program in a rapidly evolving institutional environment. Developments during recent years demonstrate Congo’s capacity for growth and poverty alleviation if the right incentives are provided. Developments during the last year also indicate the government’s commitment to address the key issues, even in the face of significant political challenges. The government’s response to short-term concerns builds on a compelling vision of long-term development.
This paper reviews forestry reform in the Congo basin, focusing on Gabon. It argues that the key challenge for the Congo basin countries is to manage their forests in a sustainable manner. It presents the current situation of forestry taxation and forestry reform in Gabon. The paper analyzes optimal taxation in the forestry sector using a static model. The model works from the proposition that tax policy should be used exclusively for revenue purposes and resource preservation should be achieved mainly through legislation and enforcement. It argues that when prices are uncertain the best practice is to tax only profits.
This Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix paper outlines the recent developments in the political and security situation in Congo. It reviews economic performance during 1970–2003, including in the context of IMF-supported programs. The paper also reviews recent developments in public finance management, and examines the constraints on growth and poverty reduction. The sources of economic growth during 1970–2003 are analyzed. The paper also discusses the feasibility of an oil fiscal rule, and notes some key lessons and challenges for the Congo.
Under the aegis of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank, approximately 190 legislators from over 80 countries gathered in Paris on February 14-16 to discuss a wide range of development issues. This fifth annual meeting of the organization, which also drew governmerit officials, civil society I organizations, and representatives from the World I Bank and the IMF, I focused on rising concerns over the prospects for meeting the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); continued frustration with trade and market access; the importance of improving the accountability of the international financial institutions; donor policies; and efforts to strengthen the role of parliamentarians in promoting development.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix investigates the sources of growth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and evaluates the relative importance of productivity growth and factor accumulation. The analysis is extended to the key sectors of the economy: agriculture, mining, and transport. The paper assesses the DRC’s medium-term growth prospects and compares them with both the post-conflict growth experience to date and the growth objectives of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility-supported program. The paper also suggests a simple, yet powerful, methodology for projecting the real GDP growth rate.