DR Congo

DRC : UNDP - The biggest challenge to this country is unemployment

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News and Press Release
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This Friday May 25 2007, we spoke to Babacar Cisse, UNDP country director in the DRC, to get his views on the participation of UNDP within the Country Assistance Framework, as well as ongoing UNDP support to projects such as the training of DRC National Assembly deputies, the fight against unemployment and the forthcoming local, urban and municipal elections.

Interview

Could you explain UNDP's participation in the DRC, in terms of the Country Assistance Framework?

The theme of UNDP's cooperation with the authorities is essentially on the programme that UNDP is preparing for the next five years, which will commence in January 2008. This document will be presented to UNDP's advisory council in September, so that it will be operational by next January.

This new programme will be prepared on the basis of the poverty reduction strategy paper of the government, with a series of consultations that will take place with the government, but also with other development partners and countries under the Country Assistance Framework.

We have two main focuses. The first is on governance, and politics, both local and administrative, as well as on the reform of the security sector, that we work on with MONUC and other partners.

The other focus is the fight against poverty. We will consolidate all that we are working on over the last few years in the framework of development activities. In this regard we need resources, and we will put in place the necessary micro financing. With the Central Bank, we will help to create a strategy for micro finance in the country.

There are also other activities related to the preservation of biodiversity that we will continue to assist with the UNDP World Funds programme. Overall we will out in place programmes over the next five years, amounting to approximately 60 million US dollars.

How do you evaluate the UNDP supported training of the National Assembly deputies?

The training will end today. Overall, the deputies are very satisfied to be able to have the means necessary to improve their work. This is the start of the process because the training demands a lot of time, and we will follow this with a training programme for deputies at national as well as local level.

What is the next step on the fight against unemployment after the presentation of the UNDP's project to the Labour minister?

I'm delighted that the Labour minister presented this strategy which will be the object of a June forum, which will work on the problems.

Employment will not be increased until a productive job creation cycle is initiated, and through other different mechanisms, such as the stabilisation of the country which is ongoing, and when a favourable legal environment is created for private investment.

It is also necessary within the framework of the programme, that we have a focus on employment which could be created within the framework of the programme for reintegration across all projects, and not just those for ex combatants, but also for the community.

It is also necessary to have a very big approach in the matter of the creation of employment. There is the agricultural sector, for example, that could equally create a lot of employment. With our colleagues from the World Food and Agriculture programme we can deepen our thinking in terms of the possible ways in which we can intervene to create mass employment in the country.

Is UNDP going to support the forthcoming urban, municipal and local elections?

We were implicated at the start of the electoral process in the country, and we will continue our assistance in this domain. In this regard, we are very well advanced with our development partners and with the Independent Electoral Commission, and its president Malu Malu.

We just started a project focused on the electoral cycle. But we will not only aid the preparation of the local elections with technical support like in the past, but we will support the creation of the new CENI-the National Independent Electoral Commission. This is because it is important to put in place the instruments necessary in a manner that will permit the Congo to hold the next elections in five years time.

We have put in place a group of donors, a technical group, and we have estimated the support costs that are necessary. Overall we have a cohesion between the partners, and we hope that the necessary resources will be mobilised to get the project off the ground in the coming days.

Most of the partners that have participated in the financing of the first elections are open and interested in financing this project.