AfDB grants US$70m to DRC for agro-industrial development

DRC The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has granted a loan from the African Development Fund (ADF) of US$70.76 million to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to implement the Program of support for agro-industrial development in Ngandajika (PRODAN), in the center of the country.

This is financing from the Bank’s concessional window. The Congolese government will provide about US$22.37 million in counterpart for the execution of the program over a period of five years, in the province of Lomami, in the center of the country, about 1,390 kilometers from Kinshasa, the capital of the country.

More than a million people, half of which are farm households, live in this province where agriculture provides 65.5% of jobs. The poverty rate is between 60 and 70% with food insecurity in rural areas estimated at around 15%.

PRODAN constitutes the pilot phase of an operation aimed at implementing national policies and strategies to develop agricultural development poles, through the creation of agro-industrial parks in each of the 22 provinces of the country, in order to stimulate an annual growth of the agricultural sector of more than 6%.

The objective is to reduce poverty, ensure food and nutritional security for rural populations, and create jobs and sustainable income. The other expected results concern the improvement of access to markets, inputs and agricultural services.

“This program responds to the challenge of food insecurity facing the DRC,” Mr. Serge Nguessan, Managing Director of the African Development Bank for the Central Africa region said.

“Indeed, despite the potential of fertile arable land and favorable climatic conditions, the country faces a growing food deficit estimated at 10.5 million tonnes of cereals per year, mainly maize and around 7 million tonnes of various food products.”

The program targets fragile and economically, socially and environmentally disadvantaged areas, but with significant agricultural potential, and whose sustainable development will help improve the country’s food security.

“The only way to fill the food deficit is to resort to massive imports of around US$1.5 billion a year and the size of the country makes it even more difficult to meet the food needs of remote areas,” Mr. Serge said.

“PRODAN is part of the main priority program of the Congolese government, which aims to eventually reach the 22 provinces of the country, and gradually reverse the trend of food insecurity, thanks to the development of special agro-industrial processing zones. This program is the first operation of this type for the DRC.”

It will directly benefit more than 131,413 households, or approximately 750,000 people, 52% of whom are women, and indirectly 500,000 agricultural households.

It will induce the creation and consolidation of around 35 small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises, 40,000 direct jobs for young people (18-35 years old) of which 30% are girls and 20,000 other direct jobs (30% women).

In order to ensure the sustainability of the investments, the “participatory and inclusive” approach, adopted during the preparation and appraisal of the project, will continue during its implementation phase in order to involve all stakeholders.

Likewise, the ‘special agro-industrial transformation zone (ZSTA)’ approach will attract the private agro-industrial sector and facilitate access to the market, and investments in a serviced agro-industrial park: roads, various equipment and networks, social and production infrastructures, access to the various national networks (road, electricity, telephone, ICT, etc.).

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