Employment-Intensive Investment in Democratic Republic of Congo

Web page | 08 February 2017

Current EIIP Involvement

Activities on an Operational and Policy Level
In May 2006, in advance of the first democratic elections to take place in over forty years, the ILO undertook an exploratory mission on job creation and infrastructure development. As a result, there is a strong consensus amongst government departments and donors for the need for a support for integrating employment and labour-based approaches into infrastructure development. At the policy level, this programme will support a newly created inter-ministerial employment-investment policy unit to assess and monitor the employment impact of investment programmes. On an operational level, the ILO support programme would link up to major infrastructure investments providing added value by training small contractors and community contracting associations in labour-based approaches and help integrate ex-combatants and urban and rural youth into productive employment. In addition, since the beginning of 2017, we have started discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in order to be involved in the programme of rural roads rehabilitation which is going on with the Rural Infrastructure Development Support Project (PADIR in French) financed by the African Development Bank.

Historical Information

This programme will build on over a decade of experience by the ILO in labour-intensive infrastructure development, which had been interrupted due to political instability. In 1991, the UNDP/World Bank financed an ILO feeder roads programme, which included elements of road maintenance by agricultural/commercial companies, small contractor development, community-based road maintenance and capacity building from the National Agricultural Feeder Roads unit to manage a decentralized contractor-based feeder road improvement and maintenance programme.

It carried out pilot work on sandy soil stabilization and gabion manufacture using labour-based techniques, training of local community representatives and small bridge construction. The geographical coverage was restricted to three regions for security and logistical reasons. The ILO technical assistance team initially comprised a Chief Technical Adviser and a Training Adviser, but was reduced to one expert following political instability in 1992. In 1997, the ILO’s support for the National Agricultural Feeder Roads unit was integrated into a five year programme entitled "National Programme for the Re-launching of the Agriculture and Rural Sector.” This programme was funded by the UNDP and executed by UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services) with collaboration from the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) and the ILO. The development objectives of this programme were (i) to secure feeding for the population of the country, (ii) to alleviate poverty and (iii) to release a surplus from the production and put it to the disposal of the agricultural industry, in order to create remunerated employment in the rural areas and stop migration from rural areas.

Focus on Youth Employment
The transitional Congolese government and the international community are making major investments in basic infrastructure in rural and urban areas, while at the same time placing great priority on job creation to support a transition to peace and a newly elected democratic government. This political will for employment creation is demonstrated by the creation of an Employment-Investment policy unit funded under national debt relief budget allocated to the National Employment Creation Programme, which itself was developed with ILO support. Youth employment is a particular concern, as the Head of State wrote in 1995 to the UN volunteering the DRC as one of the lead countries in the Secretary-General's Youth Employment Network.

Support to Roads Training School
The ILO had also developed a demonstration project for urban employment and basic infrastructure covering three peripheral neighbourhoods of Kinshasa. Unfortunately, this project was closed in 1991 following political rioting. However, the model will be used for developing a new urban employment programme in Kinshasa meant to integrate homeless youth (cheggai) into productive employment.