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Cablegate: Kabila Meets August 5 with Donor Community On Development

VZCZCXYZ0009
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKI #0677/01 2310742
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180742Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8312

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000677

AID for AA/AFR and AFR/EA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON PREL PGOV CG
SUBJECT: KABILA MEETS AUGUST 5 WITH DONOR COMMUNITY ON DEVELOPMENT
ISSUES FOR FIRST TIME SINCE ELECTION

1. (SBU) Summary: President Joseph Kabila convoked bilateral and
multilateral development partners August 5 to assess progress on his
development priorities and to review social and economic development
issues. This meeting was significant as it was President Kabila's
first encounter with the international community on development
issues since his election in late 2006. The genesis of the meeting
was a discussion between Kabila and P3+2 ambassadors over mutual
frustrations with the pace of development progress. Some tangible
progress has been made in upgrading the Congo's infrastructure,
improving its health care and expanding the national education
system since Kabila's election, yet there is consensus that
development programs must be accelerated. The president may also
feel he is under political pressure to step up the pace of
development so he can point to real gains in time for the 2011
elections. An informal translation of the official communique on
the meeting is at para. 9; the original text in French is at para.
10. End summary.

Kabila and his "cinq chantiers"
-------------------------------

2. (U) In October 2006, then-candidate Joseph Kabila announced that
as president his economic development plan would focus on progress
in "cinq chantiers" (literally "five work areas") or prioritized
sectors: education, health, infrastructure, water and electricity,
and job creation. Promising big changes and reform within the
context of democracy and free trade, he raised the hopes of millions
of Congolese who were (and still are) living in dire poverty. Two
years later, progress on the five development priorities has been
less than anticipated.

3. (U) On August 5 Kabila convened a meeting attended by high-level
members of his economic development team, and representatives of the
World Bank, the IMF, the European Commission, the European Union,
the UN, the African Development Bank (ADB), as well as
representatives of the United States, the UK, China, Japan, France,
Germany and South Africa, among others. The main goals of the
meeting as billed by its organizers were to present and evaluate
exactly which programs are in place to accelerate economic and
social development, which strategies for development are working and
what are not, as well as how the overall efficiency of assistance
programs can be improved.

Government, donors report on problems
-------------------------------------

4. (U) GDRC representatives highlighted progress to date as well as
challenges. The Minister of Finance reported on significant
commitments of foreign assistance. With reference to programs of
the World Bank, African Development Bank and the European Community,
he noted substantial lags between commitments and disbursements and
showed how assistance tends to be concentrated in places such as
Kinshasa, rather than flowing to the provinces with the highest
levels of poverty. The Planning Minister described improvements in
donor coordination processes, consistent with the Paris Declaration
on Aid Effectiveness. The Minister of Infrastructure and Public
Works gave details of actual and planned investments in
transportation infrastructure, showing how Western and Chinese
investments will complement one-another.

5. (U) Statements by SRSG Alan Doss, French Ambassador Bernard
Prevost (speaking on behalf of bilateral donors), and World Bank
Director Marie Francoise Marie-Nely stressed the donors' commitment
to work with the GDRC, identified constraints to effective program
implementation and proposed measures to improve coordination and to
achieve quick wins.

6. (U) President Kabila affirmed his desire to hold two or three
such meetings each year, and was quick to distinguish these
consultations from the processes of the transitional period. He
noted that security and stability are essential for the development
agenda to succeed, making explicit reference to Eastern Congo. He
stated his belief that the DRC's relations with China and the West
can be reconciled and that related issues surrounding HIPC debt
relief can be resolved.

Outcomes
--------

7. (U) Outcomes of the meeting will include a Performance Agreement
that will summarize principles of development cooperation between
the GDRC and the international community and an Action Plan for
follow-up. The Action Plan is still under discussion but includes
processes to accelerate the implementation of development programs
and improve communication. There is also a consensus that two or
three quick wins should be identified in each of the President's
"cinq chantiers." Measures under discussion include, among others:
increasing primary school enrollments by 1 million in September 2008
and an additional 1 million in September 2009; distributing 20
million insecticide-treated mosquito nets by the end of 2009 to
combat malaria; and restoring generating capacity of the Inga

hydroelectric complex according to fixed targets.

8. (SBU) Comment: The meeting was seen as productive and some
concrete measures to reform existing development programs were put
forward, as noted above. President Kabila pledged to convene a
meeting before the end of the year to continue to evaluate
development programs. The meeting was significant in so far as it
was the first time the President has met with the development
community on development issues since his election in late 2006.
Moreover, it may help to clear the path for more effective use of
development resources. Simple politics seems to have been factor in
Kabila's decision to hold this meeting. Although there are some
tangible results to show for his campaign promises, Kabila realizes
that time is running out and he needs greater donor community
support to achieve progress on his five prioritized spheres of
development if he is to recover popular support for re-election in
2011. In this connection, we note that the meeting was given ample
media coverage. End comment.

9. (U) Following is an unofficial Mission translation of the
official communique issued shortly after the meeting.

BEGIN TRANSLATION OF COMMUNIQUE:

On Tuesday August 5, 2008, His Excellency, Joseph Kabila, President
of the Democratic Republic of Congo met with bilateral development
partners to take stock of progress on the Poverty Reduction Strategy
Paper (PRSP) and, in particular, on the implementation of the
nation's five priority areas for development [education, health,
infrastructure, water and electricity, and the creation of jobs].
The principal objectives of this high-level meeting were to assess
the effectiveness of aid through projects funded by partners and
progress in the fight against poverty, as well as to search for
possible ways and means to more quickly implement programs in these
five priority sectors.

Several themes relating to the daily lives of the Congolese people
were addressed. These include, notably, the improvement in:

- Access to primary schools for all children and, in particular, as
early as the beginning of this coming term, September 2008;
- Access to primary health care and the reduction of the incidence
of malaria and HIV/AIDS;
- Access to potable water and electricity;
- The state of infrastructure (roads, agricultural trails, inland
waterways, railways) in order to develop economic activity and
reduce the cost of transporting merchandise.

It was therefore agreed to:
- Accelerate reforms in priority sectors;
- To improve and simplify the procedures regarding the
implementation of programs and projects of partners;
- To step up efforts toward good economic governance;
- To concentrate support from partners into the government's
priority sectors;
- To better utilize the services of national institutions and to
strengthen them;
- To assess the progress of the DSCRP, the Priority Action Plan
(PAP) and the five priority sectors every quarter;
- To better inform the public on current development projects;
- To develop a performance agreement aiming to accelerate aid
effectiveness in the DRC.

Finally, this meeting was an important opportunity to reaffirm the
common will of both Congolese institutions and development partners
to work together in a spirit of mutual respect and complementarity.

End translation of communique


10. (U) Following is original text in French of communique.

Begin original text:

CE MARDI 5 AOUT 2008, SON EXCELLENCE MONSIEUR JOSEPH KABILA,
PRESIDENT DE LA REPUBLIQUE DEMOCRATIQUE DU CONGO, A RENCONTRE LES
PARTENAIRES AU DEVELOPPEMENT POUR FAIRE LE POINT SUR L'ETAT
D'AVANCEMENT DU DSCRP ET EN PARTICULIER DES CINQ CHANTIERS DE LA
REPUBLIQUE. LA RECHERCHE DE L'EFFICACITE DE L'AIDE, A TRAVERS LES
PROJETS FINANCES PAR LES PARTENAIRES, LA LUTTE CONTRE LA PAUVRETE ET
LA RECHERCHE DES VOIES ET MOYENS POUR ACCELERER LA MISE EN QUVRE DES
5 CHANTIERS DE LA REPUBLIQUE ONT CONSTITUE LES PRINCIPAUX OBJECTIFS
DE CETTE RENCONTRE DE HAUT NIVEAU.

PLUSIEURS THEMES TOUCHANT A LA VIE QUOTIDIENNE DES CONGOLAIS ONT
AINSI ETE ABORDES. IL S'AGIT NOTAMMENT DE L'AMELIORATION DE :

-L'ACCES A L'ECOLE PRIMAIRE EN PARTICULIER ET CE, DES LA RENTREE DE
SEPTEMBRE 2008 ;
-L'ACCES AUX SOINS DE SANTE PRIMAIRE ET LA REDUCTION DE L'INCIDENCE
DE LA MALARIA ET DU VIH/SIDA ;

-L'ACCES A L'EAU POTABLE ET A L'ELECTRICITE ;
-L'ETAT DES INFRASTRUCTURES (ROUTES, PISTES AGRICOLES, VOIE
NAVIGABLES, CHEMIN DE FER) POUR DEVELOPPER L'ACTIVITE ECONOMIQUE ET
REDUIRE LES COUTS DE TRANSPORT DES MARCHANDISES.

POUR CELA, IL A ETE CONVENU :

-D'ACCELERER LES REFORMES DANS CES SECTEURS PRIORITAIRES ;
-D'AMELIORER ET SIMPLIFIER LES PROCEDURES DE MISE EN QUVRE DES
PROGRAMMES ET PROJETS DES PARTENAIRES ;
-D'ACCELERER LES EFFETS EN MATIERE DE BONNE GOUVERNANCE ECONOMIQUE ;

-DE CONCENTRER LES APPUIS DE PARTENAIRES SUR LES SECTEURS
PRIORITAIRES DU GOUVERNEMENT ;
-DE MIEUX UTILISER LES SERVICES DES INSTITUTIONS NATIONALES ET DE
LES RENFORCER ;
-DE FAIRE LE POINT CHAQUE TRIMESTRE POUR VERIFIER L'ETAT
D'AVANCEMENT DU DSCRP, DU PAP ET DES CINQ CHANTIERS ;
-DE MIEUX INFORMER LA POPULATION DES REALISATIONS EN COURS.
-D'ELABORER UN PACTE DE PERFORMANCE POUR ACCELERER L'EFFICACITE DE
L'AIDE EN RDC.

CETTE RENCONTRE A FINALEMENT ETE L'OCCASION DE REAFFIRMER LA VOLONTE
COMMUNE DES INSTITUTIONS CONGOLAISES ET DES PARTENAIRES AU
DEVELOPPEMENT D'QUVRER DANS UN ESPRIT DE RESPECT MUTUEL ET DE
COMPLEMENTARITE ".

End communique

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