Harare – United Nations Development Programme regional director for Africa, Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, says the DRC needs global support in its drive to fight inequalities and injustice, and foster inclusive and sustainable development.
During a recent visit to the SADC member state, Ms Eziakonwa met the country’s leader, President Félix Tshisekedi, and discussed practical ways to invest in human capital, foster synergies between the government and the UN system, and how best to tap into the UNDP Accelerator Lab initiative that seeks to unleash youth creative energies and potentials.
They also discussed the importance of peace and stability, and upholding democratic processes.
“The UNDP is ready to provide effective technical assistance to reinforce democratic institutions and the electoral process, in collaboration with other UN entities, if and when the government requests it,” highlighted Ms Eziakonwa. “The UNDP is also committed to accompany the government in the implementation of its programme on accelerated local community development with key actions towards access to education and healthcare, and developing agriculture, infrastructures and renewable energy.”
President Tshisekedi, who is the Chair of the African Union, and Ms Eziakonwa also discussed how best to exploit opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade area in ways that enhanced women’s empowerment and climate action.
“The AfCFTA is seen as a game changer in boosting regional value chains,” said Ms Eziakonwa. “Government officials, African ambassadors, private entrepreneurs, women influencers and young innovators I met, all referred to the role the private sector can play in supporting development especially through the AfCFTA.”
During a stop in Goma, the UNDP official said: “The Democratic Republic of the Congo is at a critical period in its history. Our work in governance and institution-building will be central to stabilization efforts in the area as well as the organization of the next round of elections.”
She emphasised the need to support the DRC to protect the world’s second most expansive forest and largest freshwater reservoir, a few days after a UN climate report indicated that the whole world was at risk due to global warming. The DRC is the biggest of six countries forming the Central African forest, the second largest forest cover in the world after the Amazon.
“An efficient and transparent management of natural resources is essential not only to the DRC and its people, but also to the rest of the planet,” said Ms Eziakonwa. “UNDP is working with Congolese people and authorities to protect resources and manage its abundant mineral, forestry, and oil resources to foster a greener and more inclusive economy and sustainable development.”