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.
KEY ISSUESContext and outlook: Despite strong macroeconomic performance under the Fund- supported program (2009�12) with economic activity steadily accelerating and inflation declining sharply, poverty remains pervasive and the economy vulnerable, exposing this progress to reversal. Limited fiscal space and shocks to revenues often offset by expenditure adjustments have not supported pro-poor and critical investment spending necessary for inclusive growth, giving rise to mounting social demands to share in the benefits of the accelerating growth.Focus of consultation: The discussions focused on medium-term policy measures to preserve macroeconomic stability while promoting inclusive growth, improve transparency and good governance in the natural resources sector; and foster financial stability and development.Key policy recommendations:� Maintain the fiscal anchor of no (net) central bank financing of the budget while creating fiscal space through enhanced domestic revenue mobilization, and improving the quality of public spending through public financial management (PFM) reforms, and building more robust buffers against external shocks.� Implement measures included in the updated governance matrix agreed with the World Bank and the recommendations of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the National Conference on Mineral Resources Management (NCMRM) to enhance transparency and good governance in the management of natural resources.� Accelerate reforms of the Central Bank of the Congo (BCC) and the financial sector by (i) passing the central bank law to strengthen its independence and governance,(ii) completing its recapitalization, and (iii) strengthening its analytical capacity,(iv) disengaging from non-core activities, and (v) implement FSAP recommendations to promote financial sector stability and development.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Rene Tapsoba, and Mr. Sampawende J Tapsoba
This paper proposes a new quality of growth index (QGI) for developing countries. The index encompasses both the intrinsic nature and social dimensions of growth, and is computed for over 90 countries for the period 1990-2011. The approach is premised on the fact that not all growth is created equal in terms of social outcomes, and that it does matter how one reaches from one level of income to another for various theoretical and empirical reasons. The paper finds that the quality of growth has been improving in the vast majority of developing countries over the past two decades, although the rate of convergence is relatively slow. At the same time, there are considerable cross-country variations across income levels and regions. Finally, emprirical investigations point to the fact that main factors of the quality of growth are political stability, public pro-poor spending, macroeconomic stability, financial development, institutional quality and external factors such as FDI.
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.
This note reviews the Republic of Congo’s Poverty Reduction, Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (PRSP). PRSP outlines a comprehensive framework for the reduction of poverty and emphasizes diversifying the economy to generate employment, provide social services and reduce the vulnerability of its citizens, and strengthen good governance. It can be further strengthened by setting clear, realistic targets, prioritizing and sequencing goals and plans to achieve those goals, and creating systems for monitoring and evaluating the specific projects undertaken.
The government of the Republic of Congo launched a program aimed at consolidating peace and promoting economic and social development. The objectives included improvement of governance and consolidation of peace and security, promotion of growth and macroeconomic stability, improvement of public access to basic social services, improvement of the social environment, integration of disadvantaged groups, and combating HIV/AIDS. The review shows that much remains to be accomplished, and building on the significant gains of recent years, the decision to expand and strengthen the strategic poverty reduction framework was made.
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.