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Cablegate: Parterning for Global Hunger and Food Security: Drc

VZCZCXRO8775
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0994/01 3081429
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041429Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0281
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1499
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000994

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT FOR ARYAN
IO/HS FOR JTUMINARO AND RHAGEN
C FOR MPLOWDEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD ECON PGOV PREL CG
SUBJECT: PARTERNING FOR GLOBAL HUNGER AND FOOD SECURITY: DRC
RESPONSE

REF: A) STATE 107298
B) KINSHASA 625

1. (SBU) Summary: Economic Counselor and Head of USAID's Office of
Economic Growth and Livelihoods delivered (Ref A) letter and
proposal to Minister of Agriculture Norbert Basengezi Katitima on
October 19, highlighting the USG commitment and approach to
combating global hunger and promoting food security. USAID officer
also presented background on the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural
Development Programme (CAADP) and discussed how we can work together
to support the DRC's participation in CAADP and the Global Hunger
and Food Security Initiative. As in a previous meeting with
Econcouns (Ref B), Basengezi noted his strong interest in working
with the USG on enhancing food security in the DRC. To this end, he
identified several areas for possible US-DRC cooperation, including
activities to support U.S. investment in the agricultural sector,
technical assistance to develop public-private partnerships for
domestic fertilizer production, and a return of the Peace Corps.
Bisengezi also requested USG advocacy with the government of the DRC
(GDRC) and Parliament for increased funding for the agricultural
sector in the DRC's draft 2010 budget. End summary.

2. (U) In presenting Bisengezi with the Secretary's letter and the
proposal, Econcouns highlighted the U.S. approach to promoting food
security and noted the significant efforts made in coordination with
our development partners over the past several months. Econcouns and
USAID stressed the importance of adherence to the L'Aquilla
Priniciples to 1) support country-led processes; 2) ensure a
comprehensive approach to food security; 3) strategically coordinate
assistance; 4) support a strong role for multilateral institutions;
and 5) sustain a robust commitment of financial resources. USAID
then briefed Bisengenzi on the CAADP, stressing our interest in
supporting the DRC's participation in CAADP and the importance of
participating in the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative.
Econcouns and USAID stressed that under the Maputo Declaration,
African governments have agreed to commit at least 10 percent of
their national budgets to the agricultural sector. Other countries
in the region such as Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia are participating
more fully in CAADP, and Econcouns and USAID asked how the USG can
support agriculture in the DRC. The DRC's national budget for the
agricultural sector, however, is approximately 1 percent. USAID
noted it would soon be launching a new agricultural policy project
with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), which
may help support the GDRC's participation in CAADP. USAID also has
programming to support decentralization of the DRC's agricultural
sector in key provinces.

3. (SBU) In response, Bisengezi identified several areas for
possible U.S. - DRC cooperation and/or support. First, Bisengezi
appointed his Chief of Staff, who was present at the meeting, to
serve as the POC at the Ministry of Agriculture to develop a GDRC
technical team to formulate projects and coordinate with donors on
food security, including advancing the DRC's participation in CAADP.
Showing Emboffs examples of a variety of local agricultural
products, including coffee, cocoa and soap, Bisengenzi requested USG
support to help attract U.S. investors in Equateur and Orientale
Qsupport to help attract U.S. investors in Equateur and Orientale
provinces for the production of these products. If U.S. companies
do not want to invest, Bisgenzi noted, the DRC would look to China.
His preference, however, would be for American investment in these
sectors. Bisengenzi also requested support from the USG for the
development of public-private partnerships (PPP) to develop
phosphate mining and processing to build capacity in local
fertilizer production. Noting his first-hand positive experience
with Peace Corps in the DRC, Bisengenzi reiterated (Ref B) his
request that Peace Corps return to the DRC to provide technical
assistance in agriculture. Bisengenzi noted aquaculture, in
particular, as a recommended area of intervention for Peace Corps.


4.(SBU) Finally, Bisengenzi requested the USG advocate with the
GDRC, Parliament and the IMF for increased resources in the DRC's
national budget for the agriculture sector, noting we were the
second donor that day that had raised the issue of national spending
on agriculture. (Note: The GDRC's draft 2010 budget, submitted to
the National Assembly in early October, allocates 1.4 percent of
spending to the agriculture sector. Spending for agriculture has
remained relatively constant in the DRC's budget over the past five
years, generally between 1.0 to 1.6 percent. End note) Econcouns
noted that food security is one of the five themes that we are
focusing on in coordination with the GDRC as follow-up to Secretary
Clinton's August 10/11 visit to the DRC. We will continue to engage
at a senior level on food security in this context, in addition to
our current programming to support the DRC's agricultural sector.

KINSHASA 00000994 002 OF 002


5. (SBU) Comment: As in previous meetings, Bisengezi was highly
receptive to working with the USG on promoting food security in the
DRC. The identification of a POC within the Ministry of Agriculture
to organize a GDRC technical team to work with the USG and other
donors to advance the DRC's participation in CAADP and other
initiatives is an important first step. Some of Bisengezi's other
proposals, including the development of public-private partnerships
to support local production of fertilizer and efforts to attract
U.S. investment in the agricultural sector also have merit. Post
will pursue possible assistance and activities to support these
efforts. The most challenging of Bisengezi's requests for USG
support relates to the DRC's budget. Not only has the GDRC already
submitted its draft budget to Parliament, the IMF has privately told
Econcouns that they are concerned about any unrealistic spending
increases by Parliament as it discusses the 2010 budget before final
approval. There is no question that the GDRC must make a bigger
investment in its agricultural sector. However, at the same time
that many donors are advocating increased budgeting for the
agricultural sector, there are considerable pressures to control
spending and ensure a realistic budget that can be fully executed.
In the long-term, the GDRC must do more to increase its revenue base
so that the national budget can support increased investment in a
range of sectors, including agriculture. The GDRC's low level of
spending on the agricultural sector, however, is unlikely to change
for this year. End Comment.

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