The Democratic Republic of Congo has unveiled ambitious plans to invest $6.6 billion over the next ten years in its Agriculture Transformation Programme (PTA), marking a significant step towards fulfilling its promise to become the breadbasket of Africa. The announcement was made during the recent DRC Agribusiness Forum in Kinshasa.
The initiative showcases the commitment of Congolese president Félix Antoine Tshisekedi to harness the nation’s agricultural potential and reduce its dependence on the extractive sector, thereby diversifying the economy and promoting sustainable growth.
Enormous agricultural potential
The DRC, with its vast resources, boasts 80 million hectares of cultivable land, four million hectares of irrigable land, a diverse climate allowing year-round agriculture, and 7 to 8% of the world’s exploitable freshwater.
Additionally, it possesses approximately 125 million hectares of grazing land, adequate for 40 million head of livestock. Solomane Koné, deputy director general of the African Development Bank for Central Africa and country manager for the DRC, emphasised the nation’s potential, stating that the DRC undeniably possesses the resources to be Africa’s agricultural epicentre and a catalyst for prosperity, especially considering its young and female population.
The DRC Agribusiness Forum, organised by the DRC Government with support from the African Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation, aimed to stimulate private sector investment in agricultural value chains.
The event attracted over 700 participants from 28 countries, including government officials, technical and financial partners, and representatives from public and private companies and investment sectors.
At the forum, the DRC unveiled its National Food and Agriculture Pact, a significant outcome of the Food Sovereignty and Resilience Summit held in Dakar in January 2023. The Pact, an integral part of the PTA, outlines the nation’s commitment to fostering food security and agricultural resilience.
Key recommendations for agricultural growth
The forum culminated in several critical recommendations for developing agricultural value chains in the DRC.
These include the adoption of a sectoral and project-based approach with robust government support, limiting charges and taxes to 25% of production and export activities, establishing a sovereign wealth fund to aid small agricultural investors, enhancing the capacities of decentralised territorial entities, and harmonising regulatory frameworks for special economic areas and public-private partnerships.
The DRC government reaffirmed its dedication to making agricultural transformation a cornerstone of the country’s development. To ensure the effective implementation of the forum’s recommendations, the government plans to enact necessary reforms and establish a dedicated taskforce comprising various ministerial departments and stakeholders.
As the DRC embarks on this transformative journey, the international community watches with anticipation, recognising the nation’s potential to not only feed its people but also contribute significantly to the food security of the entire African continent.
With strong commitments and strategic investments, the DRC is poised to become a leading force in Africa’s agricultural landscape, fostering economic prosperity and sustainable development for its citizens and the region at large.