Wednesday, 08 June 2011

Democratic Republic of Congo to get assistance from UNIDO in agribusiness, industrial development

KINSHASA, 8 June 2011 – Boosting food security in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and helping develop sustainable jobs for the poorest and most vulnerable groups, including women, in the next five years is one of the main aims of a new agreement between the country and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The agreement on a country programme of technical cooperation for 2011-2015 was signed in the capital Kinshasa today.

It also marks the official start of the project, “Bringing support to the national reconstruction programme of the DRC for livelihoods recovery and peace building”, financed by the Government of Japan.

The country programme, the implementation of which started in January 2011, aims at rekindling the role of the enterprise sector to create more sustainable jobs and incomes.

The Minister of Industry, Anicet Kuzunda, said that the programme was the culmination of consultations initiated in March 2010. It signals the return of  UNIDO to the country after its departure at the end of the 1980s. The programme will contribute to the emergence of a diversified and competitive industrial sector.

According to Gérard Gaveau, UNIDO Senior Industrial Adviser, the programme was designed to benefit the most vulnerable groups in the country, including women and young people.

“The programme will help improve business governance at policy and institutional levels, and target wood, cassava and palm oil industries for domestic consumption and exports,” said Gaveau after the signing ceremony.

The three sectors will be analyzed in a value chain approach as part of the African Agribusiness and Agro-industry Development Initiative (3ADI), a joint multi-country initiative of UNIDO, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and other partners aimed at agribusiness development for income creation and food security.

UNIDO has already initiated the creation of a food technical centre funded by Japan (USD 1.3 million) in Bas-Congo province. The centre helps in the transformation of certain food products such as cassava, beans and fruits. More than 4,000 people will benefit from this project.

The Chargé d'affaires of the Embassy of Japan, Kazuhiko Fujita, said his country supported this project to reduce poverty, resolve the nutrition problem and increase productivity. He added that the signing of this cooperation programme opened a new door for the future of DRC.

The Government of Japan has recently funded a range of UNIDO projects worth a total of over USD 10.6 million, both in Africa, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan, as well as in Afghanistan.

For more information, please contact:

Gérard Gaveau
UNIDO Senior Industrial Adviser

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