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DRC Seeks to Diversify

Nicolas Kazadi, Finance Minister for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), recently outlined the Congolese government’s ambitious plans to turn the country into an African industrial hub with the launch of a far-reaching reform agenda. Indeed, for all its vast mineral wealth—Congo is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of important resources like cobalt and diamonds—the DRC remains one of the poorest countries on the planet. The nation has, nevertheless, made progress since Tshisekedi was elected three years ago, earning praise from the chief of the IMF. It will now fall to Tshisekedi, Kazadi and the rest of the Congolese government to use the DRC’s ample resources to diversify its economy and bolster its industrial capabilities in a variety of sectors. It’s a familiar scenario across much of Africa, too, with many countries targeting greater long-term growth and more stable revenues through a like-minded approach. The economic diversification targeted by the DRC is something that countries across Africa also aspire to. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 45 of the continent’s 54 nations are still too heavily reliant on exporting commodities for their economic stability. The volatility of commodity prices (especially during times of global pandemics and international conflicts) can create macroeconomic instability, which is why diversifying into new sectors is so crucial to long-term fiscal security.