Remarks by His Excellency Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo

tshisekedi

Speech by His Excellency Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Most Holy Father,

Mr. Special Envoy of the President of the United States for Climate Change,

Madam Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund,

Ministers,

Ladies and Gentlemen, in your respective capacities,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank the organizers of this international conference, especially Professor Jeffrey Sachs, for the opportunity to speak by videoconference, so that we can, together, ask ourselves how to react to the challenges that the world, our common home, is currently facing.

Indeed, it is a question of exploring and exchanging on the possible solutions to the problems related to the deep inequalities that are increasing between the countries of the North and those of the South in the financial, technological and climate change fields. This approach will make it possible to define, as His Holiness Pope Francis so well emphasized, the contours of a new beginning for collective sustainable development.

Most Holy Father,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As far as my country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, is concerned, everyone agrees on a disgusting paradox that has been deeply challenging our consciences for many years. It is this delirious contrast between the potential wealth of my country and the extreme poverty of its population. Indeed, while the soil and subsoil of this vast country in the heart of Africa are endowed with several natural resources, which very few developed and emerging countries have, these resources have unfortunately not favored its harmonious development for several decades.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has still not used them wisely. For more than 60 years since it acceded to international sovereignty, it has given the impression of collapsing under the weight of all these wealths, which have become for it a veritable Nessus tunic that kills all who wear it. Here is confirmed in pain, this assertion according to which it is the Men and not the natural resources which generate the development. This assertion refers us therefore undoubtedly to forge in our society, the type of Man who can favorably answer this preoccupation.

However, the decadence of my country which seems to have settled and anchored durably in the national landscape, cannot be considered as a fatality such as many of my compatriots consider it unfortunate. On the contrary, it must be considered by all as an invitation to a citizen's surge. Thus, since my election in January 2019, to the high office of President of the Republic, I have decided to solicit the support of all the sons and daughters, these eighty million Congolese who are, rightly, to be considered as the main factor, better yet, the engine of the development of my Country. I want to gather them around my vision, because I am firmly convinced that once translated into action, it will offer my country, for the first time in its history, the opportunity to radically change its paradigm and to begin its real take-off.

Indeed, the core of my vision is based on the certainty that, united and gathered around an enlightened leadership, the Congolese people can easily transform the potentialities their country abounds in real wealth and thus manage, according to the norms, to translate their dream into reality, that of a strong, prosperous Congo whose wealth will really benefit the improvement of the social conditions of all.

To this end, I have set the Government a global objective to achieve. We must absolutely fight to eradicate as soon as possible this poverty which sticks to the skin of the multitude. Therefore, we will mobilize all the energies and means of the State, to converge them towards these common goals, whose realization is based on three axes or founding pillars.

The first axis is centered on Man. To this end, I must admit that the Democratic Republic of Congo does not lack experienced men and women, that is to say, men and women of value who can be found at all levels of society, from the top to the bottom of its social pyramid.

The second axis is based on economic growth. Indeed, to achieve the above-mentioned objectives, we need strong and sustained economic growth that creates jobs and protects the environment.

The third axis aims to build and consolidate a society of solidarity. This is why I have sealed a “Social Pact” with the Congolese people, so that a society of solidarity can be created and built, guaranteeing a true national cohesion that would take root in the minds of all.

Most Holy Father,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The concretization of this ambitious plan postulates as a priority that the Democratic Republic of Congo must truly become a State of Law, that is, a State capable of managing and defending its borders, of establishing an efficient Administration and of exercising its authority over the entire national territory, including the East of the country, which has been transformed into a powder keg for several years.

In this regard, the Government of the Republic has undertaken numerous reforms in several sectors, including Justice, Defense, Security and Social Affairs.

Another priority requirement is the challenge of mobilizing the financial resources necessary to achieve my vision of my country's development. Also, on this subject, my first reflex goes in the direction of maximizing the internal revenues of the State and their effective channeling towards the accounts of the Public Treasury.

I would also like to point out that the Government has also undertaken deep and solid reforms, in order to fight against corruption and economic crimes, but also to improve governance in the management of natural resources and the business climate, to diversify the economy and to create conditions for inclusive growth, which includes the improvement of the social conditions of our populations, such as housing, health, education, employment, development of the water and electricity sector, empowerment of women, promotion of youth, promotion of culture, arts, sports and leisure centers. It is also a question of rebuilding the country by modernizing the basic infrastructure and the development of the national territory.

The projection in time and the preparation of the future are also priorities. They pass, among others, by the development and the promotion of New Information Technologies. Among these technologies, the Digital Technology is a key element, whose strategic character for all the countries of the world is not to be demonstrated anymore. This technology, which brings with it the transformation and modernization of States, will allow my country to proceed rationally with digital identity, to maximize revenues, to digitize the land and mining registry, to ensure distance learning, to monitor electronic governance and to obtain reliable statistical data; in short, to support and guarantee good governance.

To ensure that my country does not lag behind in this overall movement that allows for the transformation of global governance in all areas, the Democratic Republic of Congo now has a Special Advisor in charge of covering this activity, a National Digital Plan and a Ministry specifically dedicated to this strategic sector.

Most Holy Father,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, I would like to stress that the fight against climate change and the creation of conditions for sustainable development are also among the priority actions on the agenda of the Government of the Republic.

In this regard, I welcome the presence among us of Mr. John Kerry, Special Envoy of the President of the United States for the climate. I am convinced that Mr. Kerry still remembers the strong proposals I made on behalf of my country, but also in my capacity as current Chairman of the African Union, during the virtual summit of Heads of State and Government, held on 22 and 23 April last, at the initiative of President Joe Biden.  

Allow me to present you with the main points:

The Democratic Republic of Congo and Africa have reiterated their firm commitment to implement the Paris Agreement. As far as my country is concerned, this commitment is accompanied by concrete and quantified measures that allow it to contribute to the global fight against climate change in the context of sustainable development and poverty reduction.

It is true that the Democratic Republic of Congo is making a real effort to do its part and is working with its neighbors and the international community to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

However, I must point out that the existing financial mechanisms do not allow us to achieve the objectives of this Agreement. Indeed, the current low price of forest carbon set at 5 US dollars per ton is neither fair nor realistic. Moreover, carbon neutrality cannot be achieved without considering the conservation and regeneration of forests. To this end, I have always advocated for a fairer price for forest carbon, which should integrate the opportunities given up and rise to a much more remunerative level.

Most Holy Father

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to reassure you that, at this stage, all the institutional conditions are now in place in my country to enable the realization of my vision, which involves the whole country, through the realization, over the next two years of the actions contained in the Government's Action Program.

I remain convinced that the realization of this Program stipulates the continuation and intensification of the implementation of measures to strengthen the means of mobilization of internal resources and to reach, slowly and surely, the access to the integrated development of the Country. However, it remains true that the challenges this represents cannot be fully met by relying on national financial resources alone. Therefore, I am calling on investors from all over the world, whether private, public or multinational, to join the Democratic Republic of Congo, without exception, in the establishment of win-win partnerships. 

Considering furthermore that the recovery of my country will have repercussions and benefits for the entire African continent, I believe that this justifies that global, inclusive and coordinated solutions be developed with the full participation of the international community and all other stakeholders concerned. These efforts that we expect from the International Community should include either the cancellation of the external debt or other types of relief of this burden, in order to enable developing countries, such as mine, to be able to better and harmoniously rebuild.

I said and I thank you.

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