On Thursday, 19th August 2021, the Minister of Finance, Nicolas Kazadi, was hosted on CNBC Africa’s Power Lunch by Wole Famurewa to discuss the DRC’s COVID-19 response, vaccinations, and projections for the economic recovery.
The DRC is committed to ensuring the situation is managed promptly. “Vaccination is indispensable in order to begin easing restrictions and opening the economy,” said the Minister. The Congolese government has mobilized 250 million USD and ordered more than 30 million vaccine doses such as Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca, and others. The DRC Government has received the new batch of vaccines and the number of those who are being vaccinated throughout DRC is steadily rising in all the hospitals. Despite the reports of hesitation towards taking the vaccine, the Minister of Finance stressed that the Congolese government’s priority is massive deployment and awareness.
Regarding the economy, DRC had a 1.7% GDP growth rate at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and is among the most resilient economies. For the next couple of years, growth estimations are at 4.9% for 2021 and 5.6% for 2020. With the rapid deployment of vaccines, the recovery trajectory should be maintained.
DRC is also actively working towards sustainable and private sector-led economic growth through the IMF allocated $1.5 billion Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The funds will go towards strengthening the international reserves and increasing public investments. This will help stimulate growth and catalyze sustainable development (infrastructure, development bank, vaccine acquisition, etc.).
The Minister, Mr. Nicolas Kazadi, continued on the US-DRC partnership, stating that the sectors to invest in are education, health care, reducing conflict, new opportunities for the economy, energy in terms of climate, and governmental reforms. The DRC is also engaged in the MCC (Millennium Challenge Corporation) Initiative, which is a catalyst in blended finance transactions and will better position the country to mobilize private capital for the public good through Prosper Africa.
The structural reform agenda has been taken up in order to facilitate investments in the private sector. Some of the reforms include improving the business climate, reinforcing accountability mechanisms in the financial sector, fighting against corruption, and strengthening transparency specifically in the mining sector. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has been adopted and the State has committed to a beneficial ownership registry, as well as a disclosure of mining contracts. The tax contribution from this sector has also increased the public fund. The Finance Minister says, “Partnering with other sectors, such as agriculture, is essential to diversify the economy”.
According to the Minister of Finance, Nicolas Kazadi, “If we need to attract more investors, we need more transparency”. He concluded with the Africa Business Forum (AFB) which will be held in the upcoming weeks. This forum will link the mining sector with producers on the value chain regarding raw materials.