President Joseph Kabila’s unprecedented move to revamp business, labour and fiscal law is a step in the right direction. However, the motives of the move: attracting international investors and showing a new face as the country prepares to mark its 50th year of independence are suspect.
According to the World Bank, it takes about 150 days (over 10 times the average of developed countries) to start a business in DR Congo and 300-2000 basic taxes to give it nationwide presence.This discrepancy must by all means be corrected. However, fashioning an economic recovery programme by putting foreign investors first and citizens second has heavily contributed to alienating African governments from their electorate.
It should not be forgotten that for the last 10 years, the developed world's quest to power its electronic and military industry has cost the lives of over 5.4 million Africans in in DR Congo. In their quest for strategic minerals, these so called ‘international investors’ have not found it despicable to unleash terror on innocent women and children.
Much as foreign investment is acceptable, DR Congo government should guard against sacrificing the lives of its citizens at the altar of foreign interests.With sound systems, DR Congo is able to feed the whole of Africa and give aid to developed countries. The government must thus build inclusive institutions, structures and frameworks that focus on the long term; guide access to subsurface wealth and ensure peaceful and fair exploitation of resources for the benefit of DR Congo’s people.
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