As Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi seeks re-election, the promises made during his initial term to alleviate poverty in remote areas seem unfulfilled. Despite implementing certain social policies, many areas, like the village of Camp Pay in the Kwilu province, continue to face challenges.
Unfulfilled Promises and Lingering Struggles
Local voices in Camp Pay echo a sentiment of disappointment and frustration. Blaise Kabwengi, a fish vendor, highlights the broken promises related to the closure of the Boma port. Despite assurances of reopening and resuming activities, nothing has materialized, leaving the community in a state of uncertainty.
Victor Mukala, a farmer, expresses dissatisfaction with President Tshisekedi's tenure, emphasizing the need for tangible actions to address difficulties in transportation and food security. Mukala contends that the president, even nearing the end of his mandate, has a responsibility to the people and must fulfill promises for the well-being of the population.
Tshisekedi's Social Policies and the Reality on the Ground
President Tshisekedi, who came to power in 2019, initiated social policies such as waiving primary school fees and introducing free maternity care in the capital, Kinshasa. These policies aimed to improve education and healthcare access, particularly for vulnerable populations.
While there has been an increase in the number of Congolese children attending school, the overall impact on poverty in remote areas remains limited. In rural regions like Camp Pay, the promised improvements seem distant, leaving residents grappling with challenges like inadequate transportation and food scarcity.
DRC's Ongoing Struggles Despite Mineral Wealth
Despite being rich in minerals, the DRC continues to face significant economic challenges, including corruption, mismanagement, and conflict in the eastern part of the country. The World Bank estimates that about two-thirds of the DRC's 100 million people live on less than $2.15 a day.
Felix Tshisekedi, 60, is running for a second term in a December 20 election. After taking power in 2019, he waived primary school fees -- his flagship social policy and rolled out free maternity care in the capital Kinshasa.
More Congolese children are in classrooms than ever before. But most people in the Democratic Republic of Congo remain trapped in grinding poverty and see little change.