DR Congo to Invest $6.6 Billion in Agriculture Transformation Program

During the Agribusiness Forum held in DR Congo from 4 to 5 October 2023, Congolese PM Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde announced that his country plans to invest some USD 6.6 billion into the Agriculture Transformation Program (ATP). The move is aimed at diversifying the economy away from the extractive mining industry and to tap the potential of the Congo as a breadbasket of the region.

“With its 80 million hectares of cultivable land, its four million hectares of irrigable land, its varied climate allowing year-round agriculture, its having 7 to 8% of the world’s exploitable fresh water, and its approximately 125 million hectares of grazing land, sufficient for 40 million head of livestock, coupled with the size of its population, especially young and female, DR Congo incontestably has the means to be the breadbasket of Africa, the epicenter of the continent’s agricultural industry and an incubator of prosperity.”

AfDB Country Manager for the DRC Solomane Koné

The Forum was organized by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in collaboration of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). More than 700 participants from 28 countries took part, including government officials, industry leaders, financiers and other stakeholders in Agribusiness.

During the Forum, the DRC presented its National Food and Agriculture Pact (NFAP), elaborated during the Food Sovereignty and Resilience Summit which took place in Dakar in January 2023. The NFAP is key outcome of the ATP which budgets USD 6.6 to transform the agriculture landscape over the next decade to position DRC to enhance #FoodSecurity.

DR Congo Agribusiness Forum 2023

Congolese PM Jean-Michel Lukonde and AfDB Director-General for Central Africa region Serge N’Guessan as well as his Deputy and DR Congo Country Manager Solomane Koné were in attendance. The AfDB has integrated the ATP into its Country Strategy Paper for the next five years and is willing to work closely with the Congolese government to realize its objectives.

As a summary of the discussions, the following recommendations were put forward:

  • Adopt a sectoral and project-based approach with strong support from government (tax and administrative facilities) for the revival of the agricultural sector
  • Limit all chares such as fees and taxes to a maximum of 25% of the value of production and export
  • Set up a Sovereign Wealth Fund to support agriculture
  • Reinforce capacities and roles of decentralized territorial entities in the governance of the agricultural sector
  • Harmonize the regulatory framework for Special Economic Zones (#SEZ) targeted at agro-processing and related laws such as Agriculture Act, #PPP Act

During the Forum, the DRC Government reiterated its commitment to making the Agricultural Transformation Program a success and, in that breath, will establish a taskforce to bring together all stakeholders to push through the necessary reforms and undertake effective actions.