Yaounde, 26 June 2018 (ECA - www.uneca.org/sro-ca) – The Government of the Republic of Congo and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have laid the foundations for the formulation of Congo Vision 2047, the country’s long-term framework to build a prosperous and peaceful nation and a resilient, diversified and globally competitive economy well linked with regional and global value chains, all in synchrony with the ECA-inspired Douala Consensus that calls for rapid economic diversification in Central Africa.
At the behest of the Congolese Government, the Director of the Sub-regional Office for Central Africa of ECA – Mr. Antonio Pedro, the Head of the Office’s Data Center – Ms. Mama Keita, and the Chief of the Planning Section at the Macroeconomic Policy Division (MPD) - Mr Bartholomew Armah, have just concluded intense consultations with high-level government officials and other stakeholders in Congo, including the UN, the Development Bank of Central African States (BDEAC) and the World Bank, to understand better the country’s political and socio-economic context and the opportunities to trigger structural transformation as well as to define the scope, modalities and milestones for the visioning exercise. The ECA mission coincided with a week-long validation process of Congo’s 2017-2022 National Development Plan (PND in French), which the government is championing.
“It was reassuring to see that the PND has chosen human capital development and economic diversification as the two priorities for the short-term 2017-2022 Plan. This is in full alignment with our call to Central African member States to pursue countercyclical measures as a means to addressing the structural problems confronting the sub-region. As such, the PND will be a building block to Vision 2047”, Mr Pedro said. He recalled that Congo was currently experiencing macroeconomic instability linked to its overdependence on the exportation of crude oil for its own development.
“Rapid industrialization and the horizontal and vertical diversification of the economies of the Congo and other Central African countries, through harnessing the full potential of the region’s endowments in natural resources and exploring the trade and market access opportunities which the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will create, is a prerequisite for not only reducing the exposure to external shocks of local economies but a pathway to boosting trade in the sub-region and building resilient economies that create decent jobs, in sufficient quantity. These are the multiplier effects we are seeking across Central Africa,” he said.
The Head of ECA’s Office in Central Africa and his delegation were comforted by Congo’s positive inference from the Douala Consensus in its PND. The ECA team therefore zeroed-in on the need for industrial policy formulation and implementation to be prioritized at the highest level of the State and be the spinning wheel of Congo’s Vision 2047.
“Industrial policy institutions put in place must be strong and inclusive” echoed Mr. Pedro, who also submitted that such policies “should ensure that there is regular and harmonious interaction between them.”
The views of Congo’s Minister of Planning, Statistics Regional Integration – H.E. Ms. Ebouka-Babackas Ingrid Olga Ghislaine were in consonance with the offerings from ECA. She acknowledged the urgency for Congo to tailor its development vision in the frame of structural transformation, which ECA has been advocating with evidence, as the overarching development model that would end the yo-yoing of Central African economies into moments of spikes and slumps due to overdependence on raw materials for revenue. The Minister expressed appreciation to the Commission for accepting to support Congo in its effort to piece-together and roll-out its development vision.
ECA’s support to developing and implementing Congo’s short and long-term development plans will include among other things: i) helping the country to domesticate agendas 2030 and 2063 in its PND, ii) accompanying the country to put premium of the diversification of its primary sectors such as agriculture and forest; iii) helping to calibrate its industrial policy formulation and execution.
For all of this to happen, the Congolese government says it is taking the necessary steps to create an environment of peace and security as well as to build a solid human capital base as Mr. Juste Désire Mondele, Special Adviser to the country’s Head of State, said during the brainstorming session he led with the ECA team. He assured ECA that the Vision formulation process will receive the necessary high-level support it deserves.
Meanwhile, top officials of Congo’s Ministry of Planning, Land Equipment ad Major projects (which leads the implementation of the country’s major infrastructure projects to boost its productive capabilities) assured the ECA team that authorities are putting all in gear to develop the right sets of infrastructure that would leverage the development plans that are afoot. They said most of the country’s administrative counties are now interlinked and that they were working to double the nation’s energy supply in the short run. In addition, four special economic zones are being sprouted to enliven the country’s development vision.
The Sub-Regional Office for Central Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 14935 Yaounde, Cameroon
Tel: (+237) 222504348 / 222504315 / 222504321
Abel Akara Ticha – Communication Officer
Tel: 237 222504348