THE Democratic Republic of the Congo’s presidential poll won’t happen until mid-2019, the country’s electoral authority said last week.
That’s well beyond the agreed end of year deadline for President Joseph Kabila to step down. What to do? There will be much international deliberation on that. But the Congo Research Group points out that what’s rarely discussed are the economic enablers that influence and shape the current crisis.
Large multinational companies are implicated in questionable mining deals, which have included big contracts to members of Kabila’s family. Any substantial financial support to the government by the IMF and World Bank should be conditioned on far greater transparency, the CRG argues. That goes for the election as well.
The enormous cost of the exercise – at between $800m and $1.8 billion it’s more than 20% of DR Congo’s annual budget – should give donors pause, the group notes. Not only does the process provide an opportunity for lucrative kickbacks, but also the potential skewing of the final result at this initial registration phase.