ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 15, 2023/ — The Democratic Republic of Congo aims to invest $6.6 billion over ten years in its Agriculture Transformation Programme (PTA) to fulfil its commitment to becoming Africa’s breadbasket. The announcement was made at the “DRC Agribusiness Forum”, held on 4 and 5 October 2023 in Kinshasa.
The investment is evidence of the commitment of Congolese President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi to develop the country’s agricultural potential and ease the economy’s dependence on the extractive sector.
“With its 80 million hectares of cultivable land, its four million hectares of irrigable land, its varied climate allowing year-round agriculture, its having 7 to 8% of the world’s exploitable fresh water, and its approximately 125 million hectares of grazing land, sufficient for 40 million head of livestock, coupled with the size of its population, especially young and female, DR Congo incontestably has the means to be the breadbasket of Africa, the epicentre of the continent’s agricultural industry and an incubator of prosperity,” said Solomane Koné, Deputy Director General of the African Development Bank for Central Africa and Country Manager for the DRC.
The Forum, held at the initiative of the DRC Government with the support of the African Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation, aimed to stimulate private sector investment in agricultural value chains and boost agribusiness in the agricultural-resource-rich Central African country. The opening ceremony was chaired by Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde.
More than 700 people from 28 countries took part, including government officials, representatives of technical and financial partners, heads of public and private companies, investors and actors in the agricultural sectors.
At the event, the Democratic Republic of Congo presented its National Food and Agriculture Pact (https://apo-opa.info/46I0Bwg), made at the Food Sovereignty and Resilience Summit held in January 2023 in Dakar. The Pact is a product of the PTA.
Serge N’Guessan, African Development Bank Director-General for Central Africa, said at the request of Democratic Republic of Congo, the African Development Bank will devote all of the country’s available allocations during the 2023-2025 Afrian Development Fund (ADF)-16 cycle to operations in support of the Agriculture Transformation Programme, which is the backbone of the Bank’s Country Strategy Paper for DRC over the next five years.
The Bank’s delegation, led by Mr N’Guessan, included senior officials and several executives from the various areas of operations. The experts enriched discussions on the involvement of the private sector and of technical and financial partners for giving agribusiness a new impetus in DRC.
Other topics discussed included approaches for sustainable and resilient agriculture, operational challenges to improve the resilience of the agriculture industry, the financing of agricultural value chains, the potential of the cassava sector, strengthening agribusiness, and the role of public-private partnerships and of energy and transport infrastructure for agribusiness development.
Five main recommendations were made for developing agricultural value chains:
- Adopt a sectoral and project-based approach, with real support from government (tax and administrative facilities, availability of basic socio-economic and energy infrastructure, etc.) for the revival of the agricultural sector.
- Limit all charges, fees and taxes to a maximum of 25% of value for production and export activities.
- Set up a sovereign wealth fund to support agriculture and agriculture hubs to support and advise small agricultural investors.
- Strengthen the capacities and roles of decentralized territorial entities in the governance of the agricultural sector, ownership and effective application of the value-chains approach and sustainable agriculture, risk guarantee and mitigation mechanisms and access to finance.
- Harmonize the regulatory framework for Special Economic Areas (ZES), Law on Basic Principles for Agriculture, Law on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).
The DR Congo Government reaffirmed its commitment to making agricultural transformation a key driver of development in the country, particularly through the necessary reforms and the establishment of a taskforce bringing together a number of ministerial departments and stakeholders to monitor implementation of the Forum’s recommendations.